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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2012;65(2):305-16. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2010.518242. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Impaired goal-directed behavioural control in human impulsivity.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. Lee.hogarth@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

Two dissociable learning processes underlie instrumental behaviour. Whereas goal-directed behaviour is controlled by knowledge of the consequences, habitual behaviour is elicited directly by antecedent Pavlovian stimuli without knowledge of the consequences. Predominance of habitual control is thought to underlie psychopathological conditions associated with corticostriatal abnormalities, such as impulsivity and drug dependence. To explore this claim, smokers were assessed for nicotine dependence, impulsivity, and capacity for goal-directed control over instrumental performance in an outcome devaluation procedure. Reduced goal-directed control was selectively associated with the Motor Impulsivity factor of Barrett's Impulsivity Scale (BIS), which reflects propensity for action without thought. These data support the claim that human impulsivity is marked by impaired use of causal knowledge to make adaptive decisions. The predominance of habit learning may play a role in psychopathological conditions that are associated with trait impulsivity.

PMID:
21077008
PMCID:
PMC3471322
DOI:
10.1080/17470218.2010.518242
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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