Brain Topography

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 479–487 | Cite as

Morphometric Correlation of Impulsivity in Medial Prefrontal Cortex

  • Sang Soo Cho
  • Giovanna Pellecchia
  • Kelly Aminian
  • Nicola Ray
  • Barbara Segura
  • Ignacio Obeso
  • Antonio P. Strafella
Original Paper


Impulsivity is a complex behaviour composed of different domains encompassing behavioural dis-inhibition, risky decision-making and delay discounting abnormalities. To investigate regional brain correlates between levels of individual impulsivity and grey matter volume, we performed voxel-based morphometric correlation analysis in 34 young, healthy subjects using impulsivity scores measured with Barratt Impulsivity Scale-11 and computerized Kirby’s delay discounting task. The VBM analysis showed that impulsivity appears to be reliant on a network of cortical (medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and subcortical (ventral striatum) structures emphasizing the importance of brain networks associated with reward related decision-making in daily life as morphological biomarkers for impulsivity in a normal healthy population. While our results in healthy volunteers may not directly extend to pathological conditions, they provide an insight into the mechanisms of impulsive behaviour in patients with abnormalities in prefrontal/frontal-striatal connections, such as in drug abuse, pathological gambling, ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.


Decision making Impulsivity Medial prefrontal cortex Ventral striatum Magnetic resonance imaging Voxel based morphometry 



This work was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to APS (MOP-110962). APS is supported by the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation and the Canada Research Chair Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sang Soo Cho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Giovanna Pellecchia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kelly Aminian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicola Ray
    • 1
    • 2
  • Barbara Segura
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ignacio Obeso
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonio P. Strafella
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute, UHNUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Movement Disorder Unit & E.J. Safra Parkinson Disease Program, Toronto Western Hospital and Institute, UHN, CAMH-PET Imaging CentreUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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