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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; Tusche, Anita; Manoharan, Nicolas; Hutcherson, Cendri; Hare, Todd A; 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):5799-5806.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:General neuroscience, cognitive regulation success, dietary self-control, dlPFC, valuation, vmPFC, voxel-based morphometry
Language:English
Date:20 June 2018
Deposited On:29 Jan 2019 14:26
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:18
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.3402-17.2018
Official URL:http://www.jneurosci.org/content/38/25/5799

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