Behavioral and neural correlates of delay of gratification 40 years later
ABSTRACT We examined the neural basis of self-regulation in individuals from a cohort of preschoolers who performed the delay-of-gratification task 4 decades ago. Nearly 60 individuals, now in their mid-forties, were tested on "hot" and "cool" versions of a go/nogo task to assess whether delay of gratification in childhood predicts impulse control abilities and sensitivity to alluring cues (happy faces). Individuals who were less able to delay gratification in preschool and consistently showed low self-control abilities in their twenties and thirties performed more poorly than did high delayers when having to suppress a response to a happy face but not to a neutral or fearful face. This finding suggests that sensitivity to environmental hot cues plays a significant role in individuals' ability to suppress actions toward such stimuli. A subset of these participants (n = 26) underwent functional imaging for the first time to test for biased recruitment of frontostriatal circuitry when required to suppress responses to alluring cues. Whereas the prefrontal cortex differentiated between nogo and go trials to a greater extent in high delayers, the ventral striatum showed exaggerated recruitment in low delayers. Thus, resistance to temptation as measured originally by the delay-of-gratification task is a relatively stable individual difference that predicts reliable biases in frontostriatal circuitries that integrate motivational and control processes.
SourceAvailable from: Annalisa Tosoni[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: During intertemporal choice (IT) future outcomes are usually devaluated as a function of the delay, a phenomenon known as temporal discounting (TD). Based on task-evoked activity, previous neuroimaging studies have described several networks associated with TD. However , given its relevance for several disorders, a critical challenge is to define a specific neu-ral marker able to predict TD independently of task execution. To this aim, we used resting-state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) and measured TD during economic choices several months apart in 25 human subjects. We further explored the relationship between TD, im-pulsivity and decision uncertainty by collecting standard questionnaires on individual trait/ state differences. Our findings indicate that fcMRI within and between critical nodes of task-evoked neural networks associated with TD correlates with discounting behavior measured a long time afterwards, independently of impulsivity. Importantly, the nodes form an intrinsic circuit that might support all the mechanisms underlying TD, from the representation of subjective value to choice selection through modulatory effects of cognitive control and episodic prospection.PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):1-22. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119710 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Psychodynamic Practice 06/2014; 20(3):228-249. DOI:10.1080/14753634.2014.916840
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ABSTRACT: To understand the problem of multitasking, it is necessary to examine the brain's attention networks that underlie the ability to switch attention between stimuli and tasks and to maintain a single focus among distractors. In this paper we discuss the development of brain networks related to the functions of achieving the alert state, orienting to sensory events, and developing self-control. These brain networks are common to everyone, but their efficiency varies among individuals and reflects both genes and experience. Training can alter brain networks. We consider two forms of training: (1) practice in tasks that involve particular networks, and (2) changes in brain state through such practices as meditation that may influence many networks. Playing action video games and multitasking are themselves methods of training the brain that can lead to improved performance but also to overdependence on media activity. We consider both of these outcomes and ideas about how to resist overdependence on media. Overall, our paper seeks to inform the reader about what has been learned about attention that can influence multitasking over the course of development.Developmental Review 02/2015; 35. DOI:10.1016/j.dr.2014.12.006 · 3.23 Impact Factor