ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (4): 659-667.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00659

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The Neural Basis of Intertemporal Choice: Evidences from Voxel-Based Morphometry and Diffusion Tensor Imaging

FU Mei;WANG Qiang   

  1. (1 School of Educational Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, 241000, China) (2 National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China)
  • Received:2013-04-15 Online:2014-04-15 Published:2014-04-15
  • Contact: WANG Qiang


The primary goal of neuroeconomics is to explore the cognitive and neural basis of economic decision-making. With the development of brain imaging technology, there are more advanced techniques used to explore the mechanism of economic decision-making. As an important branch of economic decision-making, inter-temporal choice can provide new insight into the economic decision-making. In this review, we first summarized the neural mechanisms of inter-temporal choices and the four theories of the intertemporal choice, including single-system valuation theory, dual-system valuation theory, self-control theory and self-referential processing theory. Then, we reviewed the evidences for inter-temporal choice from recent brain lesion studies. In addition, the neural basis of inter-temporal choice uncovered by VBM-based and DTI-based studies were reviewed and discussed in detail. The frontal gray matter and white matter volume played a large role in the impulsivity of decision-making. The dorsolateral prefrontal-striatal white matter fibers also influenced the impulsivity of decision-making. Finally, we addressed the limitations in current studies and future research direction including research methods, cognitive processes, decision impulsivity and assessment models.

Key words: intertemporal choice, neural correlates, VBM, DTI, integration