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Restricting temptations: neural mechanisms of precommitment

Crockett, MJ; Braams, BR; Clark, L; Tobler, PN; Robbins, TW; Kalenscher, T; (2013) Restricting temptations: neural mechanisms of precommitment. Neuron , 79 (2) pp. 391-401. 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.05.028. Green open access

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Humans can resist temptations by exerting willpower, the effortful inhibition of impulses. But willpower can be disrupted by emotions and depleted over time. Luckily, humans can deploy alternative self-control strategies like precommitment, the voluntary restriction of access to temptations. Here, we examined the neural mechanisms of willpower and precommitment using fMRI. Behaviorally, precommitment facilitated choices for large delayed rewards, relative to willpower, especially in more impulsive individuals. While willpower was associated with activation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), posterior parietal cortex (PPC), and inferior frontal gyrus, precommitment engaged lateral frontopolar cortex (LFPC). During precommitment, LFPC showed increased functional connectivity with DLPFC and PPC, especially in more impulsive individuals, and the relationship between impulsivity and LFPC connectivity was mediated by value-related activation in ventromedial PFC. Our findings support a hierarchical model of self-control in which LFPC orchestrates precommitment by controlling action plans in more caudal prefrontal regions as a function of expected value.

Type: Article
Title: Restricting temptations: neural mechanisms of precommitment
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.05.028
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org10.1016/j.neuron.2013.05.028
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Brain Mapping, Cerebral Cortex, Choice Behavior, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Nerve Net, Parietal Lobe, Photic Stimulation, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychomotor Performance, Reward, Young Adult
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1404576
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