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Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev. 2005 Dec;4(4):262-81.

The endophenotype of impulsivity: reaching consilience through behavioral, genetic, and neuroimaging approaches.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, NY, USA.


Impulsivity is a multidimensional construct with implications for understanding the etiology and treatment of multiple forms of psychopathology. As a multidimensional construct, however, the processes underlying impulsivity, particularly behavioral inhibition, must be separated to allow for investigations into its neurogenetic bases. Evidence from both animal and human studies supports the role of dopamine in impulsivity, and neuroimaging research is elucidating brain regions involved in behavioral inhibition. Evidence is now emerging that suggests an interaction between dopamine system genes and frontal brain regions in underlying individual differences in behavioral inhibition. However, to reach a comprehensive understanding of the neurogenetic bases of behavioral inhibition, an appropriate framework is required. Therefore, it is proposed that by identifying intervening variables more sensitive to the effects of genetic variation, known as an endophenotype approach, we will be able to overcome many of the methodological limitations that prevent a better understanding at present.

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