ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (2): 159-172.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00159

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

The neural mechanisms of impulsivity implicated in drug addiction and non-drug addiction

YAN Wansen1,2; ZHANG Ranran1; LIU Sujiao1   

  1. (1 College of Medical humanities, Guizhou Medical University; 2 Guizhou Health Development Research Center, Guiyang 550004, China)
  • Received:2015-08-20 Online:2016-02-15 Published:2016-02-15
  • Contact: YAN Wansen, Email:


Mounting evidence has demonstrated that impulsivity could be a potential biomarker that plays a crucial role in the development of addictive behaviors, thus impulsivity is considered a possible treatment target for early intervention of addiction. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how the mechanisms underlying the trajectories of impulsivity are involved in drug addiction and non-drug addiction. This project aims to identify the neural mechanisms of impulsivity in both nicotine dependence and internet gaming disorder by combining a direct comparison of drug and non-drug addictive behaviors with longitudinal studies and a cognitive-behavioral intervention study, using neurocognitive tasks and neuroimaging techniques. Firstly, nicotine-dependent individuals and internet gaming addicts would be tested on a series of behavioral tasks of impulsivity as well as in fronto-striatal brain systems using both structured and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a 3T Philips Trio MRI. Then we will move on to investigate the predictive role of impulsivity for nicotine dependence and internet gaming disorder through a 2 to 3 year follow-up study with a large sample of non-addicted adolescents consisting of two groups with either high- or low- levels of impulsivity. Thirdly, a study of 6 to 12 month cognitive behavioral intervention would be conducted on nicotine-dependent individuals and internet gaming addicts to explore the possible effects of reducing impulsivity level on the exacerbation of addictive behaviors. And this study will also evaluate the effects of continuous behavioral training on brain functions in fronto-striatal brain systems through fMRI tests. Totally, these studies should be helpful for shedding light on the possible efficacy of impulsivity as a potential biomarker and treatment target for addictive disorders.

Key words: addiction, impulsivity, inhibitory control, nicotine dependence, internet gaming disorder