PET procrastination, motivated by neuroscience

Thanks to a post by +Sakis Koukouvis

How the Brain Chooses Between Doing What We Should and Doing What We Want

Some of the most necessary things in life can also be the most boring. Now, scientists at Vanderbilt University have a better understanding of why some people can stay on task and others are more prone to seek immediate pleasure.

A article ( mentioned in BigThink ( is in the post from Sakis. The full article is from the Journal of Neuroscience ( Wow that's like Inception.

A group at Vanderbilt University used F-18-fallypride, which as a good radiotracer for dopamine D2/D3 receptor studies using Positron Emission Tomography (Wiki Here's their abstract:
Preferences for different combinations of costs and benefits are a key source of variability in economic decision-making. However, the neurochemical basis of individual differences in these preferences is poorly understood. Studies in both animals and humans have demonstrated that direct manipulation of the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) significantly impacts cost/benefit decision-making, but less is known about how naturally occurring variation in DA systems may relate to individual differences in economic behavior. In the present study, 25 healthy volunteers completed a dual-scan PET imaging protocol with [18F]fallypride and d-amphetamine to measure DA responsivity and separately completed the effort expenditure for rewards task, a behavioral measure of cost/benefit decision-making in humans. We found that individual differences in DA function in the left striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex were correlated with a willingness to expend greater effort for larger rewards, particularly when probability of reward receipt was low. Additionally, variability in DA responses in the bilateral insula was negatively correlated with willingness to expend effort for rewards, consistent with evidence implicating this region in the processing of response costs. These findings highlight the role of DA signaling in striatal, prefrontal, and insular regions as key neurochemical mechanisms underlying individual differences in cost/benefit decision-making.

#ScienceSunday #neuroscience
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