ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 381-389.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00381

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

Brain maturation and improvement in intertemporal choice in Chinese children and adolescents

HE Qinghua1,2,3, LI Dandan1   

  1. 1 Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    2 Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China
    3 Chongqing Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2019-09-04 Online:2020-03-15 Published:2020-01-18


Intertemporal decision-making refers to the phenomena that people always give less weight to future gains and losses than recent gains and losses. Although controversial, Mischel and colleagues had demonstrated that children with higher delay gratification ability had higher academic achievement later in life through the famous “Marshmallow Experiment”. Both delay gratification and inter-temporal choice deal with the decision-making behavior over time. Previous studies had discovered three neural network systems that support intertemporal decision making in the adult brain, but few evidences had been reported in children. These brain network systems were mainly located in the frontal cortex, which developed rapidly in children and adolescents. The current study aimed to provide a comprehensive survey for understanding the dynamic development of inter-temporal decision-making in children and adolescents in mainland China within the critical period of the inter-temporal decision-making by cross-sectional and longitudinal designs. Neuroimaging data will also be collected to examine the relationship between intertemporal decision-making development and brain mutation, with a special focus on the prefrontal-striatum neural network. Finally, a model with multimodal neuroimaging and behavioral fusion would be proposed to predict the inter-temporal decision-making ability. These evidences would provide services for parents, schools, as well as the society to cultivate and improve the intertemporal decision-making ability in children and adolescents.

Key words: inter-temporal choice, temporal discount, children and adolescents, decision making, brain imaging