The theoretical framework and neural mechanisms of self-control failure
DONG Jun1; FU Shuying1; LU Shan1; YANG Shaofeng1; QI Chunhui2
(1 Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Tianjin 300074, China) (2 Quzhou Secondary Technical School, Quzhou 32400, China)
Abstract： Self-control refers to the mental processes that ensure people to overcome thoughts and emotions, thus enabling behavior to vary adaptively from one situation to another. While self-control plays an important role on individual’s well-being, the failure of self-control is one of the key problems of human society. Based on the sequential-task paradigm, researchers have explored the cognitive mechanisms of self-control failure and have proposed multiple theories such as the strength model, the process model, the central governor model and the prefrontal-subcortical balance model of self-regulation. In the field of neuroimaging studies, the researchers have identified the involvement of several brain regions, including inferior frontal gyrus, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. In the future, the researchers should emphasize the integration of different theories, strengthen the neural mechanisms associated with self-control failure, and explore the relationship between self-control failure and social behaviors.