Socioeconomic hardship and delayed reward discounting: Associations with working memory and emotional reactivity.
ABSTRACT: Prolonged exposure to socioeconomic hardship (SH) is associated with greater delayed reward discounting (DRD), a form of impulsive decision-making that reflects a reduced capacity to delay gratification and a significant correlate of diverse risk behaviors, but the neurobehavioral mechanisms linking SH and DRD are unknown. An emerging hypothesis suggests that cognitive and affective stress associated with poverty may tax neurocognitive functions, such as working memory (WM), and lead to impulsive DRD. Furthermore, research suggests that emotional reactivity (ER) is an important dispositional factor to consider in the link between executive functions and DRD. Thus, we longitudinally examined the indirect effect of SH on impulsive DRD via a network of brain regions associated with WM function in a sample of young adults, and whether that link was moderated by ER. Participants were 119 rural African Americans (aged 19-24 years) assessed behaviorally on four occasions, with fMRI at the last time point. Results showed that, among emerging adults with higher ER, SH severity was predictive of increased DRD via reduced response in brain regions activated during an n-back WM task. These findings reveal both the cognitive and affective mechanisms that underlie the relationship between SH and DRD.
Project description:Impulsive delayed reward discounting (DRD) has been linked to nicotine dependence, but with some inconsistency. This may be related to the considerable variability in the literature with regard to the DRD assessments used, particularly in the case of the reward magnitudes assessed. In addition, previous studies have often not considered concurrent substance use when examining the relationship between DRD and nicotine dependence. The current study sought to further clarify the relationship between DRD and nicotine dependence by characterizing DRD across diverse reward magnitudes and incorporating other substance use. Daily smokers (N = 933) were assessed for DRD preferences across nine reward magnitudes (delayed reward range: $2.50-$850), comorbid substance use, and relevant demographic variables (age, education, income). A significant large effect size magnitude effect was found for DRD, reflecting steeper discounting for smaller delayed rewards, but significant correlations across magnitudes also suggested similar relative levels of discounting. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to generate a single latent index of discounting across all magnitudes that accounted for 69% of the total variance. In correlation and regression analyses, steeper composite DRD was significantly associated with nicotine dependence severity. This relationship remained statistically significant after incorporating demographic variables and alcohol and illicit drug use. These findings provide evidence of a specific link between impulsive DRD and nicotine dependence and reveal that this association is robust across a broad range of monetary rewards. The study also demonstrates the utility of using PCA to generate latent indices of delay discounting across multiple magnitudes of delayed reward.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Child maltreatment (CM) is robustly associated with youth risk for addictive behaviors, and recent findings suggest that this may be mediated through impulsive discounting of future rewards. However, research indicates that youth self-regulation (emotional and cognitive), particularly in peer contexts, is critical to consider in the study of decision making. This study aimed to examine the indirect link between CM and alcohol and other drug use problems, through delayed reward discounting (DRD), among a community sample of emerging adults. Further, this investigation aimed to examine whether this indirect link was moderated by heart rate variability (HRV), a physiological proxy for regulation of stress reactivity. METHODS:A sample of emerging adults (N = 225; Mage = 21.56; SDage = 2.24; 52.9% female) was assessed at 2 time points, with 1 year between assessments. The sample was comprised of rural emerging adults from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. DRD was examined using a monetary choice task, and HRV reactivity was derived during a social stress task. RESULTS:Increased CM experiences were significantly linked to riskier DRD. HRV reactivity amplified the indirect effect between CM and alcohol use problems via riskier DRD. CONCLUSIONS:The results demonstrate that the connection between CM and alcohol use problems via impulsive decision making is modulated by acute stress response reactivity, as indexed by HRV.
Project description:Impulsive delayed reward discounting (DRD) is an important behavioral process in alcohol use disorders (AUDs), reflecting incapacity to delay gratification. Recent work in neuroeconomics has begun to unravel the neural mechanisms supporting DRD, but applications of neuroeconomics in relation to AUDs have been limited. This study examined the neural mechanisms of DRD preferences in AUDs, with emphasis on dissociating activation patterns based on DRD choice type and level of cognitive conflict. Heavy drinking adult men with (n?=?13) and without (n?=?12) a diagnosis of an AUD completed a monetary DRD task during a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Participant responses were coded based on choice type (impulsive versus restrained) and level of cognitive conflict (easy versus hard). AUD+ participants exhibited significantly more impulsive DRD decision-making. Significant activation during DRD was found in several decision-making regions, including dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), insula, posterior parietal cortex (PPC), and posterior cingulate. An axis of cognitive conflict was also observed, with hard choices associated with anterior cingulate cortex and easy choices associated with activation in supplementary motor area. AUD+ individuals exhibited significant hyperactivity in regions associated with cognitive control (DLPFC) and prospective thought (PPC) and exhibited less task-related deactivation of areas associated with the brain's default network during DRD decisions. This study provides further clarification of the brain systems supporting DRD in general and in relation to AUDs.
Project description:This review evaluates the viability of delayed reward discounting (DRD), an index of how much an individual devalues a future reward based on its delay in time, for genetically-informed drug abuse prevention. A review of the literature suggests that impulsive DRD is robustly associated with drug addiction and meets most of the criteria for being an endophenotype, albeit with mixed findings for specific molecular genetic influences. Several modes of experimental manipulation have been demonstrated to reduce DRD acutely. These include behavioral strategies, such as mindfulness, reward bundling, and episodic future thinking; pharmacological interventions, including noradrenergic agonists, adrenergic agonists, and multiple monoamine agonists; and neuromodulatory interventions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. However, the generalization of these interventions to positive clinical outcomes remains unclear and no studies to date have examined interventions on DRD in the context of prevention. Collectively, these findings suggest it would be premature to target DRD for genetically-informed prevention. Indeed, given the evidence of environmental contributions to impulsive DRD, whether genetically-informed secondary prevention would ever be warranted is debatable. Progress in identifying polymorphisms associated with DRD profiles could further clarify the underlying biological systems for pharmacological and neuromodulatory interventions, and, as a qualitatively different risk factor from existing prevention programs, impulsive DRD is worthy of investigation at a more general level as a novel and promising drug abuse prevention target.
Project description:Delayed reward discounting (DRD) is a behavioral economic measure of impulsivity, reflecting how rapidly a reward loses value based on its temporal distance. In humans, more impulsive DRD is associated with susceptibility to a number of psychiatric diseases (e.g., addiction, ADHD), health outcomes (e.g., obesity), and lifetime outcomes (e.g., educational attainment). Although the determinants of DRD are both genetic and environmental, this review focuses on its genetic basis. Both rodent studies using inbred strains and human twin studies indicate that DRD is moderately heritable, a conclusion that was further supported by a recent human genome-wide association study (GWAS) that used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) to estimate heritability. The GWAS of DRD also identified genetic correlations with psychiatric diagnoses, health outcomes, and measures of cognitive performance. Future research priorities include rodent studies probing putative genetic mechanisms of DRD and human GWASs using larger samples and non-European cohorts. Continuing to characterize genomic influences on DRD has the potential to yield important biological insights with implications for a variety of medically and socially important outcomes.
Project description:Delayed reward discounting (DRD), the degree to which future rewards are discounted relative to immediate rewards, is used as an index of impulsive decision-making and has been associated with a number of problematic health behaviors. Given the robust behavioral association between DRD and addictive behavior, there is an expanding literature investigating the differences in the functional and structural correlates of DRD in the brain between addicted and healthy individuals. However, there has yet to be a systematic review which characterizes differences in regional brain activation, functional connectivity, and structure and places them in the larger context of the DRD literature. The objective of this systematic review is to summarize and critically appraise the existing literature examining differences between addicted and healthy individuals in the neural correlates of DRD using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).A systematic search strategy will be implemented that uses Boolean search terms in PubMed/MEDLINE and PsycINFO, as well as manual search methods, to identify the studies comprehensively. This review will include studies using MRI or fMRI in humans to directly compare brain activation, functional connectivity, or structure in relation to DRD between addicted and healthy individuals or continuously assess addiction severity in the context of DRD. Two independent reviewers will determine studies that meet the inclusion criteria for this review, extract data from included studies, and assess the quality of included studies using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework. Then, narrative review will be used to explicate the differences in structural and functional correlates of DRD implicated by the literature and assess the strength of evidence for this conclusion.This review will provide a needed critical exegesis of the MRI studies that have been conducted investigating brain differences in addictive behavior in relation to healthy samples in the context of DRD. This will provide clarity on the elements of neural activation, connectivity, and structure that are most implicated in the differences in DRD seen in addicted individuals.PROSPERO CRD42017056857.
Project description:This study investigated the influence of executive working memory (EWM) capacity on impulsive decision-making in a sample of young adults (n=623) that varied in degree of externalizing psychopathology (EXT) by examining: (i) the effects of WM load on delay discounting rates, and, (ii) the association between EWM capacity and delay discounting rates. EXT was measured as a latent variable indicated by lifetime problems with alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, childhood conduct, and adult antisocial behavior. Results showed that (i) the WM load increased discounting rates throughout the spectrum of EXT, (ii) EXT was associated with higher discounting rates and lower EMW capacity, and (iii) WM capacity was significantly associated with higher discounting rates when controlling for IQ, but only after a WM load. The results are discussed in terms of the role of EWM capacity in impulsive decision making in EXT.
Project description:Resolving tradeoffs between smaller immediate rewards and larger delayed rewards is ubiquitous in daily life and steep discounting of future rewards is associated with several psychiatric conditions. This form of decision-making is referred to as delayed reward discounting (DRD) and the features of brain structure associated with DRD are not well understood. The current study characterized the relationship between gray matter volume (GMV) and DRD in a sample of 1038 healthy adults (54.7% female) using cortical parcellation, subcortical segmentation, and voxelwise cortical surface-based group analyses. The results indicate that steeper DRD was significantly associated with lower total cortical GMV, but not subcortical GMV. In parcellation analyses, less GMV in 20 discrete cortical regions was associated with steeper DRD. Of these regions, only GMV in the middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and entorhinal cortex (EC) were uniquely associated with DRD. Voxelwise surface-based analyses corroborated these findings, again revealing significant associations between steeper DRD and less GMV in the MTG and EC. To inform the roles of MTG and EC in DRD, connectivity analysis of resting state data (N = 1003) using seed regions from the structural findings was conducted. This revealed that spontaneous activity in the MTG and EC was correlated with activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and inferior parietal lobule, regions associated with the default mode network, which involves prospection, self-reflective thinking and mental simulation. Furthermore, meta-analytic co-activation analysis using Neurosynth revealed a similar pattern across 11,406 task-fMRI studies. Collectively, these findings provide robust evidence that morphometric characteristics of the temporal lobe are associated with DRD preferences and suggest it may be because of their role in mental activities in common with default mode activity.
Project description:Humans vary in their ability to delay gratification and impulsive decision making is a common feature in various psychiatric disorders. The level of delay discounting is a relatively stable psychological trait, and therefore neural processes implicated in delay discounting are likely to be based on the overall functional organization of the brain (under task-free conditions) in which state-dependent shifts from baseline levels occur. The current study investigated whether delay discounting can be predicted by intrinsic properties of brain functioning. Fourteen healthy male subjects performed a delay discounting task. In addition, resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (¹H MRS) were used to investigate the relationship between individual differences in delay discounting and molecular and regional measures of resting state (baseline) activity of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). Results showed that delay discounting was associated with both dACC glutamate concentrations and resting state functional connectivity of the dACC with a midbrain region including ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra. In addition, a neural pathway was established, showing that the effect of glutamate concentrations in the dACC on delay discounting is mediated by functional connectivity of the dACC with the midbrain. The current findings are important to acknowledge because spontaneous intrinsic brain processes have been proposed to be a potential promising biomarker of disease and impulsive decision making is associated with several psychiatric disorders.
Project description:Delayed reward discounting (DRD) is a behavioral economic index of impulsivity and numerous studies have examined DRD in relation to addictive behavior. To synthesize the findings across the literature, the current review is a meta-analysis of studies comparing DRD between criterion groups exhibiting addictive behavior and control groups.The meta-analysis sought to characterize the overall patterns of findings, systematic variability by sample and study type, and possible small study (publication) bias.Literature reviews identified 310 candidate articles from which 46 studies reporting 64 comparisons were identified (total N=56,013).From the total comparisons identified, a small magnitude effect was evident (d= .15; p< .00001) with very high heterogeneity of effect size. Based on systematic observed differences, large studies assessing DRD with a small number of self-report items were removed and an analysis of 57 comparisons (n=3,329) using equivalent methods and exhibiting acceptable heterogeneity revealed a medium magnitude effect (d= .58; p< .00001). Further analyses revealed significantly larger effect sizes for studies using clinical samples (d= .61) compared with studies using nonclinical samples (d=.45). Indices of small study bias among the various comparisons suggested varying levels of influence by unpublished findings, ranging from minimal to moderate.These results provide strong evidence of greater DRD in individuals exhibiting addictive behavior in general and particularly in individuals who meet criteria for an addictive disorder. Implications for the assessment of DRD and research priorities are discussed.