Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Mar;15(3):132-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.12.005. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Cognitive neuroscience of self-regulation failure.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, 6207 Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA. heatherton@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

Self-regulatory failure is a core feature of many social and mental health problems. Self-regulation can be undermined by failures to transcend overwhelming temptations, negative moods and resource depletion, and when minor lapses in self-control snowball into self-regulatory collapse. Cognitive neuroscience research suggests that successful self-regulation is dependent on top-down control from the prefrontal cortex over subcortical regions involved in reward and emotion. We highlight recent neuroimaging research on self-regulatory failure, the findings of which support a balance model of self-regulation whereby self-regulatory failure occurs whenever the balance is tipped in favor of subcortical areas, either due to particularly strong impulses or when prefrontal function itself is impaired. Such a model is consistent with recent findings in the cognitive neuroscience of addictive behavior, emotion regulation and decision-making.

PMID:
21273114
PMCID:
PMC3062191
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2010.12.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center