The Hierarchical Organization of Impulse Control: Implications for Decision Making

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Date

2014

Authors

Coutlee, Christopher Gilbert

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Huettel, Scott A

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Abstract

The research studies presented as this dissertation constitute a methodologically diverse and conceptually integrative approach to understanding impulsiveness in the context of cognitive control and decision making. Broadly, these findings address the validity of current conceptions of trait impulsiveness, relationships between those traits and brain or laboratory measures of cognitive control, and links between impulsive traits and economic decisions under conditions of delay or uncertainty. The findings presented in this thesis affirm the multidimensional nature of impulsiveness as a construct, and link individual differences in specific impulsive types to behavioral and neurobiological measures of control function. The nature of motor, attentional, and nonplanning impulsive types are contextualized by reference to evidence supporting a broad theory of behavioral control based on hierarchical organization of action, ranging from concrete acts to abstract plans and strategies. We provide evidence linking concrete forms of urgent/motor impulsiveness to behavior and brain activation during response-related control, and more abstract and future-oriented premedititative/nonplanning impulsiveness to strategic control signals in more rostral PFC. Finally, these findings are complemented by causal evidence from a neurostimulation study linking a contextual control network to risky decision making and attentional impulsiveness.

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Coutlee, Christopher Gilbert (2014). The Hierarchical Organization of Impulse Control: Implications for Decision Making. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8761.

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