Impulsive choice induced in rats by lesions of the nucleus accumbens core

Science. 2001 Jun 29;292(5526):2499-501. doi: 10.1126/science.1060818. Epub 2001 May 24.


Impulsive choice is exemplified by choosing a small or poor reward that is available immediately, in preference to a larger but delayed reward. Impulsive choice contributes to drug addiction, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mania, and personality disorders, but its neuroanatomical basis is unclear. Here, we show that selective lesions of the nucleus accumbens core induce persistent impulsive choice in rats. In contrast, damage to two of its afferents, the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, had no effect on this capacity. Thus, dysfunction of the nucleus accumbens core may be a key element in the neuropathology of impulsivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain Mapping
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Motor Activity
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / surgery
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward