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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 May 1;115(1-2):43-50. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.10.017. Epub 2010 Nov 27.

Enhancing response inhibition by incentive: comparison of adolescents with and without substance use disorder.

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Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States.


Effective response inhibition is a key component of recovery from addiction. Some research suggests that response inhibition can be enhanced through reward contingencies. We examined the effect of monetary incentive on response inhibition among adolescents with and without substance use disorder (SUD) using a fast event-related fMRI antisaccade reward task. The fMRI task permits investigation of how reward (monetary incentive) might modulate inhibitory control during three task phases: cue presentation (reward or neutral trial), response preparation, and response execution. Adolescents with lifetime SUD (n=12; 100% marijuana use disorder) were gender and age-matched to healthy controls (n=12). Monetary incentive facilitated inhibitory control for SUD adolescents; for healthy controls, the difference in error rate for neutral and reward trials was not significant. There were no significant differences in behavioral performance between groups across reward and neutral trials, however, group differences in regional brain activation were identified. During the response preparation phase of reward trials, SUD adolescents, compared to controls, showed increased activation of prefrontal and oculomotor control (e.g., frontal eye field) areas, brain regions that have been associated with effective response inhibition. Results indicate differences in brain activation between SUD and control youth when preparing to inhibit a prepotent response in the context of reward, and support a possible role for incentives in enhancing response inhibition among youth with SUD.

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