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Brain Struct Funct. 2016 Jun;221(5):2607-18. doi: 10.1007/s00429-015-1061-4. Epub 2015 May 20.

Individual variation in the neural processes of motor decisions in the stop signal task: the influence of novelty seeking and harm avoidance personality traits.

Hu J1,2, Lee D1,3, Hu S1, Zhang S1, Chao H4,5, Li CS6,7,8,9.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
2
School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510631, Guangdong, China.
3
Radiology and Imaging Sciences, National Institutes of Health/Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
5
Medical Service, VA Connecticut Health Care Systems, West Haven, CT, 06516, USA.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA. chiang-shan.li@yale.edu.
7
Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA. chiang-shan.li@yale.edu.
8
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA. chiang-shan.li@yale.edu.
9
Connecticut Mental Health Center, S112, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT, 06519-1109, USA. chiang-shan.li@yale.edu.

Abstract

Personality traits contribute to variation in human behavior, including the propensity to take risk. Extant work targeted risk-taking processes with an explicit manipulation of reward, but it remains unclear whether personality traits influence simple decisions such as speeded versus delayed responses during cognitive control. We explored this issue in an fMRI study of the stop signal task, in which participants varied in response time trial by trial, speeding up and risking a stop error or slowing down to avoid errors. Regional brain activations to speeded versus delayed motor responses (risk-taking) were correlated to novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA) and reward dependence (RD), with age and gender as covariates, in a whole brain regression. At a corrected threshold, the results showed a positive correlation between NS and risk-taking responses in the dorsomedial prefrontal, bilateral orbitofrontal, and frontopolar cortex, and between HA and risk-taking responses in the parahippocampal gyrus and putamen. No regional activations varied with RD. These findings demonstrate that personality traits influence the neural processes of executive control beyond behavioral tasks that involve explicit monetary reward. The results also speak broadly to the importance of characterizing inter-subject variation in studies of cognition and brain functions.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Impulsivity; No-go; Reaction time; TPQ

PMID:
25989852
PMCID:
PMC4654717
DOI:
10.1007/s00429-015-1061-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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