On the Neural and Mechanistic Bases of Self-Control

Cereb Cortex. 2019 Feb 1;29(2):732-750. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx355.


Intertemporal choice requires a dynamic interaction between valuation and deliberation processes. While evidence identifying candidate brain areas for each of these processes is well established, the precise mechanistic role carried out by each brain region is still debated. In this article, we present a computational model that clarifies the unique contribution of frontoparietal cortex regions to intertemporal decision making. The model we develop samples reward and delay information stochastically on a moment-by-moment basis. As preference for the choice alternatives evolves, dynamic inhibitory processes are executed by way of asymmetric lateral inhibition. We find that it is these lateral inhibition processes that best explain the contribution of frontoparietal regions to intertemporal decision making exhibited in our data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Delay Discounting / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Parietal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Self-Control / psychology*
  • Young Adult