Morphometric correlation of impulsivity in medial prefrontal cortex

Sang Soo Cho, Giovanna Pellecchia, Kelly Aminian, Nicola Ray, Barbara Segura, Ignacio Obeso, Antonio P. Strafella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Impulsivity is a complex behaviour composed of different domains encompassing behavioural dis-inhibition, risky decision-making and delay discounting abnormalities. To investigate regional brain correlates between levels of individual impulsivity and grey matter volume, we performed voxel-based morphometric correlation analysis in 34 young, healthy subjects using impulsivity scores measured with Barratt Impulsivity Scale-11 and computerized Kirby's delay discounting task. The VBM analysis showed that impulsivity appears to be reliant on a network of cortical (medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and subcortical (ventral striatum) structures emphasizing the importance of brain networks associated with reward related decision-making in daily life as morphological biomarkers for impulsivity in a normal healthy population. While our results in healthy volunteers may not directly extend to pathological conditions, they provide an insight into the mechanisms of impulsive behaviour in patients with abnormalities in prefrontal/frontal-striatal connections, such as in drug abuse, pathological gambling, ADHD and Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Impulsivity
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Ventral striatum
  • Voxel based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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