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Salience network dynamics underlying successful resistance of temptation

By Rosa Steimke, Jason S. Nomi, V. D. Calhoun, Christine Stelzel, Lena M. Paschke, Robert Gaschler, Henrik Walter, Lucina Uddin

Posted 23 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/129676 (published DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx123)

Self-control and the ability to resist temptation are critical for successful completion of long-term goals. Contemporary models in cognitive neuroscience emphasize the primary role of prefrontal cognitive control networks in aligning behavior with such goals. Here we use gaze pattern analysis and dynamic functional connectivity fMRI data to explore how individual differences in the ability to resist temptation are related to intrinsic brain dynamics of the cognitive control and salience networks. Behaviorally, individuals exhibit greater gaze distance from target location (e.g. higher distractibility) during presentation of tempting erotic images compared with neutral images. Individuals whose intrinsic dynamic functional connectivity patterns gravitate towards configurations in which salience detection systems are less strongly coupled with visual systems resist tempting distractors more effectively. The ability to resist tempting distractors was not significantly related to intrinsic dynamics of the cognitive control network. These results suggest that susceptibility to temptation is governed in part by individual differences in salience network dynamics, and provide novel evidence for involvement of brain systems outside canonical cognitive control networks in contributing to individual differences in self-control.

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