Are executive function and impulsivity antipodes? A conceptual reconstruction with special reference to addiction
- 2k Downloads
Although there is considerable interest in how either executive function (EF) or impulsivity relate to addiction, there is little apparent overlap between these research areas.
The present paper aims to determine if components of these two constructs are conceptual antipodes—widely separated on a shared continuum.
EFs and impulsivities were compared and contrasted. Specifically, the definitions of the components of EF and impulsivity, the methods used to measure the various components, the populations of drug users that show deficits in these components, and the neural substrates of these components were compared and contrasted.
Each component of impulsivity had an antipode in EF. EF, however, covered a wider range of phenomena, including compulsivity.
Impulsivity functions as an antipode of certain components of EF. Recognition of the relationship between EF and impulsivity may inform the scientific inquiry of behavioral problems such as addiction. Other theoretical implications are discussed.
KeywordsExecutive function Impulsivity Addiction Drug abuse Substance abuse Compulsivity
This work was funded by NIDA grants R01 DA 12997, R01 DA 024080, R01 DA 024080-02S1 (NIAAA), R01 DA 030241, R01 DA 022386. The authors would like to thank Patsy Marshall for assistance with manuscript preparation.
- Bickel WK, Yi R (2008) Temporal discounting as a measure of executive function: insights from the competing neuro-behavioral decision system hypothesis of addiction. In: Houser D, McCabe K (eds) Neuroeconomics: advances in health services research. Emerald Group, Bingley, pp 289–309Google Scholar
- Bickel WK, Jarmolowicz DP, MacKillop J, Epstein LH, Carr K, Mueller ET, Waltz T (2012a) The behavioral economics of reinforcement pathologies. In: Shaffer HJ (ed) Addiction syndrome handbook. American Psychological Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Bickel WK, Jarmolowicz DP, Mueller ET, Koffarnus MN, Gatchalian KM (2012b) Excessive discounting of delayed reinforcers as a trans-disease process contributing to addiction and other disease-related vulnerabilities: Emerging evidence. Pharmacol Ther. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2012.02.004
- Bickel WK, Mueller ET, Jarmolowicz DP (2012c) What is addiction? In: McCrady B, Epstein E (eds) Addictions: a comprehensive guidebook, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Conners C (2000) Conners’ continuous performance test II: computer program for windows technical guide and software manual. Multi-Health Systems, North TonawandaGoogle Scholar
- Denckla MB (1994) Measurement of executive function. In: Lyon GR (ed) Frames of reference for the assessment of learning disabilities: new views on measurement issues. Paul H. Brookes, Baltimore, pp 117–142Google Scholar
- Dennett D (1995) Darwin’s dangerous idea: evolution and the meanings of life. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Durana J, Barnes P (1993) A neurodevelopmental view of impulsivity and its relationship to the superfactors of personality. In: McCown W, Johnson J, Shure M (eds) The impulsive client; theory, research and treatment. American Psychological Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Eysenck HJ, Eysenck SBG (1991) Manual of the Eysenck personality scales. Hodder & Stoughton, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Glahn DC, Kim J, Cohen MS, Poutanen VP, Therman S, Bava S, Van Erp TG, Manninen M, Huttunen M, Lonnqvist J, Standertskjold-Nordenstam CG, Cannon TD (2002) Maintenance and manipulation in spatial working memory: dissociations in the prefrontal cortex. Neuroimage 17:201–213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gleick J (2011) The information: a history, a theory, a flood. Pantheon Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Hendrick OM, Luo X, Zhang S, Li CS (2011) Saliency processing and obesity: a preliminary imaging study of the stop signal task. Obesity (Silver Spring). doi: oby/oby.2011.180
- Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Loring DW (2004) Neuropsychological assessment. Oxford University, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Luria AR (1966) Higher cortical functions in man. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Luria AR (1973) The working brain. Penguin, EnglandGoogle Scholar
- Madden GJ, Bickel WK (2009) Impulsivity: the behavioral and neurological science of discounting. American Psychological Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Malloy-Diniz L, Fuentes D, Leite W, Correa H, Bechara A (2007) Impulsive behavior in adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: characterization of attentional, motor and cognitive impulsiveness. Int Neurophychol Soc 13:693–698Google Scholar
- Niv Y, Montague PR (2008) Theoretical and empirical studies of learning. In: Glimcher PW, Camerer C, Poldrack RA, Fehr E (eds) Neuroeconomics: decision making and the brain. Academic, London, pp 329–349Google Scholar
- Norman W, Shallice T (1986) Attention to action. In: Davidson RJ, Schwartz GE, Shapiro D (eds) Consciousness and self regulation: advances in research and theory. Plenum, New York, pp 1–18Google Scholar
- O'Malley P (1990) Biting at the grave: the Irish hunger strikes and the politics of despair. Blackstaff, BelfastGoogle Scholar
- Passetti F, Clark L, Mehta MA, Joyce E, King M (2008) Neuropsychological predictors of clinical outcome in opiate addiction. Drug Alcohol Depend 94:82–91Google Scholar
- Pickering AD, Gray JA (1999) The neuroscience of personality. In: John EP (ed) Handbook of personality: theory and research. Guilford, York, pp 277–299Google Scholar
- Rogers RD, Everitt BJ, Baldacchino A, Blackshaw AJ, Swainson R, Wynne K, Baker NB, Hunter J, Carthy T, Booker E, London M, Deakin JF, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (1999) Dissociable deficits in the decision-making cognition of chronic amphetamine abusers, opiate abusers, patients with focal damage to prefrontal cortex, and tryptophan-depleted normal volunteers: evidence for monoaminergic mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmacology 20:322–339PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sacco KA, Termine A, Seyal A, Dudas MM, Vessicchio JC, Krishnan-Sarin S, Jatlow PI, Wexler BE, George TP (2005) Effects of cigarette smoking on spatial working memory and attentional deficits in schizophrenia: involvement of nicotinic receptor mechanisms. Arch Gen Psychiatry 62:649–659PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schneider MF, Krick CM, Retz W, Hengesch G, Retz-Junginger P, Reith W, Rosler M (2010) Impairment of fronto-striatal and parietal cerebral networks correlates with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) psychopathology in adults—a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study. Psychiatry Res 183:75–84PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sheffer C, MacKillop J, McGeary J, Landes RD, Carter L, Yi R, Jones B, Christensen D, Stitzer M, Jackson L, Bickel WK (2012) Delay discounting, locus of control, and cognitive impulsiveness independently predict tobacco dependence treatment outcomes in a highly dependent, lower socioeconomic group of smokers. Am J Addict (in press)Google Scholar
- Spencer SV, Hawk Jr. LW, Richards JB, Shiels K, Pelham, Jr, WE, Waxmonsky, JG (2009) Stimulant Treatment Reduces Lapses in Attention among Children with ADHD: The Effects of Methylphenidate on Intra-Individual Response Time Distributions. J Abnorm Child Psychol 37: 805–816Google Scholar
- Stuss DT, Alexander MP (2007) Is there a dysexecutive syndrome? Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1481:901–915Google Scholar
- Stuss DT, Benson DF (1986) The frontal lobes. Raven, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Taub E, Uswatte G, Elbert T (2002) New treatments in neurorehabilitation founded on basic research. Nature 3:228–236Google Scholar
- Verdejo-García A, Pérez-Expósito M, Schmidt-Río-Valle J, Fernández-Serrano M, Cruz F, Pérez-García M, López-Belmonte G, Martín-Matillas M, Martín-Lagos J, Marcos A, Campoy C (2010) Selective alterations within executive functions in adolescents with excess weight. Behavior and Psychology 18(8):1572–1578Google Scholar
- Wilson EO (1998) Consilience: the unity of knowledge. Vantage Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Zuckerman M (1994) Behavioural expressions and biosocial bases of sensation-seeking. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar