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Neuroanatomy of the vmPFC and dlPFC predicts individual differences in cognitive regulation during dietary self-control across regulation strategies

Schmidt, Liane and Tusche, Anita and Manoharan, Nicolas and Hutcherson, Cendri and Hare, Todd and Plassmann, Hilke (2018) Neuroanatomy of the vmPFC and dlPFC predicts individual differences in cognitive regulation during dietary self-control across regulation strategies. Journal of Neuroscience, 38 (25). pp. 5799-5806. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC6246877.

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Making healthy food choices is challenging for many people. Individuals differ greatly in their ability to follow health goals in the face of temptation, but it is unclear what underlies such differences. Using voxel-based morphometry, we investigated in healthy humans (i.e., men and women) the links between structural variation in gray matter volume and individuals' level of success in shifting toward healthier food choices. We combined MRI and choice data into a joint dataset by pooling across three independent studies that used a task prompting participants to explicitly focus on the healthiness of food items before making their food choices. Within this dataset, we found that individual differences in gray matter volume in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) predicted regulatory success. We extended and confirmed these initial findings by predicting regulatory success out of sample and across tasks in a second dataset requiring participants to apply a different regulation strategy that entailed distancing from cravings for unhealthy, appetitive foods. Our findings suggest that neuroanatomical markers in the vmPFC and dlPFC generalized to different forms of dietary regulation strategies across participant groups. They provide novel evidence that structural differences in neuroanatomy of two key regions for valuation and its control, the vmPFC and dlPFC, predict an individual's ability to exert control in dietary choices.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Tusche, Anita0000-0003-4180-8447
Manoharan, Nicolas0000-0001-5173-1135
Hutcherson, Cendri0000-0002-4441-4809
Plassmann, Hilke0000-0001-9680-0763
Additional Information:© 2018 the authors. For the first six months after publication SfN’s license will be exclusive. Beginning six months after publication the Work will be made freely available to the public on SfN’s website to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license ( Received: 1 December 2017; Revised: 12 April 2018; Accepted: 15 May 2018; Published: 4 June 2018. The study was supported by an Agence Nationale de la Recherche Sorbonne Universités Emergence Grant awarded to H.P. and a National Institute of Mental Health Conte Center grant (NIMH 2P50 MH094258) awarded to C.H. Author contributions: A.T., C.H., T.H., and H.P. designed research; L.S., A.T., N.M., C.H., T.H., and H.P. performed research; L.S. and N.M. analyzed data; L.S., A.T., C.H., T.H., and H.P. wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)UNSPECIFIED
NIH2P50 MH094258
Subject Keywords:cognitive regulation success; dietary self-control; dlPFC; valuation; vmPFC; voxel-based morphometry
Issue or Number:25
PubMed Central ID:PMC6246877
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180611-093051184
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Official Citation:Neuroanatomy of the vmPFC and dlPFC Predicts Individual Differences in Cognitive Regulation During Dietary Self-Control Across Regulation Strategies Liane Schmidt, Anita Tusche, Nicolas Manoharan, Cendri Hutcherson, Todd Hare, Hilke Plassmann Journal of Neuroscience 20 June 2018, 38 (25) 5799-5806; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3402-17.2018
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86960
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Jun 2018 20:52
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:50

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