Declerck CH, Boone C, De Brabander B. On feeling in control: a biological theory for individual differences in control perception. Brain Cogn 62: 143-176

University of Antwerp, Department of Business Economics, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium.
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 12/2006; 62(2):143-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2006.04.004
Source: PubMed


This review aims to create a cross-disciplinary framework for understanding the perception of control. Although, the personality trait locus of control, the most common measure of control perception, has traditionally been regarded as a product of social learning, it may have biological antecedents as well. It is suggested that control perception follows from the brain's capacity for self regulation, leading to flexible and goal directed behaviours. To this account, a model is presented which spans several levels of analyses. On a behavioural level, control perception may be a corollary of emotion regulation, executive functions, and social cognition. On a neural level, these self-regulatory functions are substantiated in part by the dorsolateral and ventral prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. In addition, a possible role of subcortical-cortical dopamine pathways underlying control perception is discussed.

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    • "In contrast, subjects with a more internal LOC showed no improvement on drug. Previous authors have argued that dopamine tone may influence self-regulatory functions such as LOC (De Brabander and Declerck, 2004; Declerck et al, 2006), and the current findings suggest that an internal LOC, indicative of greater cognitive control, may be associated with greater dopamine tone in relevant frontostriatal circuits. More unexpected are the current findings with respect to COMT alleles. "
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    ABSTRACT: Whether to continue to exploit a source of reward, or to search for a new one of potentially greater value, is a fundamental and underconstrained decision. Recent computational studies of this exploration-exploitation tradeoff have found that variability in exploration across individuals is influenced by a functional polymorphism (Val158Met) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, whose protein product degrades synaptically-released dopamine. However, these and other genotype-phenotype associations have rarely been causally tested. To directly test this association and to evaluate additional behavioral characteristics, including perceived locus of control, here we used the COMT inhibitor tolcapone in a randomized, double-blind, counterbalanced, within-subject study of 66 subjects genotyped for the Val158Met allele to assess the hypothesis that reducing COMT enzymatic activity interacts with genotype to increase uncertainty-driven exploration. In keeping with our initial hypothesis, tolcapone led to an increase in exploratory, but not exploitative, behavior in Met/Met rather than Val/Val subjects. Independent of genotype, those subjects with a more external locus of control also showed increases in uncertainty-driven exploration on tolcapone relative to placebo. However, we did not replicate our previous finding that Met/Met subjects show greater exploration at baseline. Together these findings support a model in which exploration is hypothesized to have a dopaminergic basis. Moreover, in keeping with findings in other behavioral and cognitive domains, the response to an increase in presumptively frontal dopamine is dependent upon baseline dopamine tone.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 30 July 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.193.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2014; 40(2). DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.193 · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    • "Using a rodent version of a slot machine, amphetamine and the dopamine D2 agonist quinpirole increased erroneous lever presses on a game with near-misses (2 of 3 identical symbols ) (Winstanley et al., 2011). Dopamine is also implicated in perceptions of control (Declerck et al., 2006; Redgrave and Gurney, 2006); for example, levodopa increased the sense of agency ( " action-effect binding " ) on a timing task in patients with Parkinson's Disease (Moore et al., 2010). As such, we predicted that the low dose of haloperidol would potentiate subjective and physiological responses to win and near-miss outcomes, and "
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    ABSTRACT: Gambling is characterized by cognitive distortions in the processing of chance and skill that are exacerbated in pathological gambling. Opioid and dopamine dysregulation is implicated in pathological gambling, but it is unclear whether these neurotransmitters modulate gambling distortions. The objective of the current study was to assess the effects of the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone and the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist haloperidol on gambling behavior. Male recreational gamblers (n = 62) were assigned to receive single oral doses of naltrexone 50 mg, haloperidol 2 mg or placebo, in a parallel-groups design. At 2.5 h post-dosing, participants completed a slot machine task to elicit monetary wins, "near-misses," and a manipulation of personal choice, and a roulette game to elicit two biases in sequential processing, the gambler's fallacy and the hot hand belief. Psychophysiological responses (electrodermal activity and heart rate) were taken during the slot machine task, and plasma prolactin increase was assessed. The tasks successfully induced the gambling effects of interest. Some of these effects differed across treatment groups, although the direction of effect was not in line with our predictions. Differences were driven by the naltrexone group, which displayed a greater physiological response to wins, and marginally higher confidence ratings on winning streaks. Prolactin levels increased in the naltrexone group, but did not differ between haloperidol and placebo, implying that naltrexone but not haloperidol may have been functionally active at these doses. Our results support opioid modulation of cognition during gambling-like tasks, but did not support the more specific hypothesis that naltrexone may act to ameliorate cognitive distortions.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10/2013; 7:138. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00138 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "One might speculate that these subjects are more prone to a manipulation that explicitly induces an internal attribution like the high effort condition in our study. More generally, this personality trait is related to reduced cognitive control of emotions and to an increased sensitivity for punishment (Declerck et al., 2006). Therefore, the increased insular effect in externally attributing subjects could reflect a higher sensitivity of an aversive event, i.e. the loss of effortfully earned money. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is ecologically adaptive that the amount of effort invested to achieve a reward increases the relevance of the resulting outcome. Here, we investigated the effect of effort on activity in reward and loss processing brain areas by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. 28 subjects were endowed with monetary rewards of randomly varying magnitude after performing arithmetic calculations that were either difficult (high effort), easy (low effort) or already solved (no effort). Subsequently, a forced donation took place, where a varying part of the endowment was transferred to a charity organization, causing a loss for the subject. Results show that reward magnitude positively modulates activity in reward-processing brain areas (subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and nucleus accumbens) only in the high effort condition. Furthermore, anterior insular activity was positively modulated by loss magnitude only after high effort. The results strongly suggest an increasing relevance of outcomes with increasing previous effort.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2013; DOI:10.1093/scan/nss147 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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