News | Neuro Imaging | August 23, 2018

MRI Study Differentiates Brains of Doers from Procrastinators

Neuroimaging study identifies two brain areas whose volume and functional connectivity are linked to ability to control actions

MRI Study Differentiates Brains of Doers from Procrastinators

August 23, 2018 — Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have analysed why certain people tend to put tasks off rather than tackling them directly. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they identified two brain areas whose volume and functional connectivity are linked to an individual's ability to control their actions. The research team — headed by Caroline Schlüter, Marlies Pinnow, Ph.D., Prof. Onur Güntürkün, and Erhan Genç, Ph.D., from the Department of Biopsychology — published the results in the journal Psychological Science on Aug. 17, 2018.

The biopsychologists examined 264 women and men in an MRI scanner. They assessed the volume of individual brain regions and the functional connectivity between them. In addition, all participants completed a survey measuring their own ability to execute action control.

Individuals with poor action control had a larger amygdala. Moreover, the functional connection between the amygdala and the so-called dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dorsal ACC) was less pronounced. "These two areas of the brain had already been linked with action control in former studies," said Genç.

The primary function of the amygdala is to assess different situations with regard to their respective outcomes and to warn us about potential negative consequences of particular actions. The dorsal ACC uses this information in order to select actions that are to be put into practice. Moreover, by suppressing competing actions and emotions, it ensures that the selected action can be successfully completed.

If the interplay between amygdala and dorsal ACC is impaired, action control can no longer be successfully executed, according to the theory put forward by the researchers. "Individuals with a higher amygdala volume may be more anxious about the negative consequences of an action - they tend to hesitate and put off things," speculated Genç. "Due to a low functional connection between amygdala and dorsal ACC, this effect may be augmented, as interfering negative emotions and alternative actions might not be sufficiently regulated."

Future studies will have to show if the degree of action control can be modified through specific training or brain stimulation. "Even though the differences regarding our ability to control our actions affect our private and professional success as well as our mental and physical health to a considerable degree, their neural foundations haven't as yet been sufficiently studied," said Schlüter, who addresses this issue in her Ph.D. thesis.

For more information: www.journals.sagepub.com/home/pss

 

Reference

Schlüter C., Fraenz C., Pinnow M., et al. The Structural and Functional Signature of Action Control. Psychological Science, Aug. 17, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618779380

Related Content

Third FDA Clearance Announced for Zebra-Med's AI Solution for Brain Bleed Alerts
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | June 19, 2019
Zebra Medical Vision announced it has received its third U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for...
LVivo EF Comparable to MRI, Contrast Echo in Assessing Ejection Fraction
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | June 19, 2019
DiA Imaging Analysis announced the presentation of two studies assessing the performance and accuracy of the company's...
New Data Demonstrates Safety Profile of GammaTile Therapy for Various Brain Tumors
News | Brachytherapy Systems | June 18, 2019
GT Medical Technologies Inc. announced the presentation of clinical data from a prospective study of GammaTile Therapy...
Black Men Less Likely to Adopt Active Surveillance for Low-Risk Prostate Cancer
News | Prostate Cancer | June 17, 2019
A new study reveals black men are less likely than white men to adopt an active surveillance strategy for their...
International Working Group Releases New Multiple Myeloma Imaging Guidelines

X-ray images such as the one on the left fail to indicate many cases of advanced bone destruction caused by multiple myeloma, says the author of new guidelines on imaging for patients with myeloma and related disorders. Image courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | June 17, 2019
An International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) has developed the first set of new recommendations in 10 years for...
SyMRI Software Receives FDA Clearance for Use With Siemens MRI Systems
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 14, 2019
SyntheticMR announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for clinical use of its SyMRI Image and SyMRI...
A high-fidelity 3-D tractography of the left ventricle heart muscle fibers of a mouse

Figure 1. A high-fidelity 3-D tractography of the left ventricle heart muscle fibers of a mouse from Amsterdam Ph.D. researcher Gustav Strijkers.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 07, 2019
The Amsterdam University Medical Center has won MR Solutions’ Image of the Year 2019 award for the best molecular...
Study Identifies MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy as Growing Market Segment
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 06, 2019
Revenues from the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided radiation therapy systems market exceeded $220 million in...
Ann Arbor Startup Launches Augmented Reality MRI Simulator
Technology | Virtual and Augmented Reality | June 04, 2019
SpellBound, an Ann Arbor startup specializing in augmented reality (AR) tools for children in hospitals, has officially...
AI Biomarker Demonstrates High Predictive Power for Lung Cancer Immunotherapy
News | Artificial Intelligence | May 31, 2019
Lunit announced an abstract presentation of its artificial intelligence (AI) precision medicine research portfolio at...