ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (1): 101-109.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00101

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The Methods and Neural Basis of Reducing Decision-making Impulsivity

WANG Qiang1; ZHANG Enmao2   

  1. (1 National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (2 Ningbo Dahongying University, Ningbo 315175, China)
  • Received:2014-02-21 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: ZHANG Enmao, E-mail:


A large number of studies have shown that patient including addiction, ADHD, and pathological gamblers are more likely to make impulsive decisions. At present, the experimental paradigm used to investigate decision-making impulsivity is the delay discounting task in which participants should choose from either a small and sooner reward or a larger and later reward. With this task, psychologists have explored the neural mechanism of impulsivity in decision-making and proposed several theories including the single-valuation system theory, dual-valuation system theory, self-control theory and self-referential processing theory. Based on these theories, a variety of methods have been developed to reduce the impulsivity in decision making, including episodic future thinking, pre-commitment, improving the ability of working memory, and increasing the blood glucose levels. The neural basis of reducing the impulsivity of decision-making was generalized by the cognitive-control theory and value-representation theory. Finally, we proposed future research directions and implications of value computation, value system and multi-voxel pattern analysis in the domain of decision-making.

Key words: delay discounting, inter-temporal choice, impulsivity, cognitive control, value representation