Connectivity strength of dissociable striatal tracts predict individual differences in temporal discounting

Wouter van den Bos, Christian A. Rodriguez, Julie B. Schweitzer, Samuel M. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Large individual differences existin the ability to delay gratification for the sake of satisfying longer-term goals. These individual differences are commonly assayed by studying intertemporal preferences, as revealed by choices between immediate and delayed rewards. In the brain, reward-based and goal-oriented decisions are believed to rely on the striatum and its interactions with other cortical and subcortical networks. However, itremains unknown whichspecific cortical-striatal tracts are involvedin intertemporal decision making. We use connectivity analyses in both structural and functional MRI to further our understanding of the relationship between distinct corticostriatal networks and intertemporal preferences in humans. Our results revealed distinct striatal pathways that are differentially related to delay discounting. Structural and functional connectivity between striatum and lateral prefrontal cortex was associated with increased patience, whereas connectivity between subcortical areas and striatum was associated with increased impulsivity. These findings provide novel insights into how the anatomy and functioning of striatal circuits mediate individual differences in intertemporal choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10298-10310
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number31
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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