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No association of goal-directed and habitual control with alcohol consumption in young adults


Nebe, Stephan; Kroemer, Nils B; Schad, Daniel J; Bernhardt, Nadine; Sebold, Miriam; Müller, Dirk K; Scholl, Lucie; Kuitunen-Paul, Sören; Heinz, Andreas; Rapp, Michael A; Huys, Quentin J.M; Smolka, Michael N (2018). No association of goal-directed and habitual control with alcohol consumption in young adults. Addiction Biology, 23(1):379-393.

Abstract

Alcohol dependence is a mental disorder that has been associated with an imbalance in behavioral control favoring model-free habitual over model-based goal-directed strategies. It is as yet unknown, however, whether such an imbalance reflects a predisposing vulnerability or results as a consequence of repeated and/or excessive alcohol exposure. We, therefore, examined the association of alcohol consumption with model-based goal-directed and model-free habitual control in 188 18-year-old social drinkers in a two-step sequential decision-making task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging before prolonged alcohol misuse could have led to severe neurobiological adaptations. Behaviorally, participants showed a mixture of model-free and model-based decision-making as observed previously. Measures of impulsivity were positively related to alcohol consumption. In contrast, neither model-free nor model-based decision weights nor the trade-off between them were associated with alcohol consumption. There were also no significant associations between alcohol consumption and neural correlates of model-free or model-based decision quantities in either ventral striatum or ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Exploratory whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging analyses with a lenient threshold revealed early onset of drinking to be associated with an enhanced representation of model-free reward prediction errors in the posterior putamen. These results suggest that an imbalance between model-based goal-directed and model-free habitual control might rather not be a trait marker of alcohol intake per se.

Abstract

Alcohol dependence is a mental disorder that has been associated with an imbalance in behavioral control favoring model-free habitual over model-based goal-directed strategies. It is as yet unknown, however, whether such an imbalance reflects a predisposing vulnerability or results as a consequence of repeated and/or excessive alcohol exposure. We, therefore, examined the association of alcohol consumption with model-based goal-directed and model-free habitual control in 188 18-year-old social drinkers in a two-step sequential decision-making task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging before prolonged alcohol misuse could have led to severe neurobiological adaptations. Behaviorally, participants showed a mixture of model-free and model-based decision-making as observed previously. Measures of impulsivity were positively related to alcohol consumption. In contrast, neither model-free nor model-based decision weights nor the trade-off between them were associated with alcohol consumption. There were also no significant associations between alcohol consumption and neural correlates of model-free or model-based decision quantities in either ventral striatum or ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Exploratory whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging analyses with a lenient threshold revealed early onset of drinking to be associated with an enhanced representation of model-free reward prediction errors in the posterior putamen. These results suggest that an imbalance between model-based goal-directed and model-free habitual control might rather not be a trait marker of alcohol intake per se.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Medicine (miscellaneous), Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:21 Dec 2017 12:45
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 08:17
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1355-6215
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.12490

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