Self-control and the Dorsal Medial Prefrontal Cortex


The dorsal medial prefrontal cortex is a phylogenetically and ontogenetically recent structure that is important for human survival. In this talk, I will present convergent evidence from neural activation analysis, brain-behavior association analysis and noninvasive brain stimulation studies to emphasize its role in self-control and impulsive decisions. In particular, it is associated with less risky and more farsighted decisions, and could help to overcome maladaptive decisions such as the gambler fallacy. Furthermore, the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex is dissociated from the later prefrontal cortex that is more involved in attention control and impulsive actions. These studies emphasize the multifaceted nature of impulsivity and have implications for the study of impulsivity-related disorders.


Dr. Gui Xue is a 985 chief researcher and Changjiang Scholar chair professor in the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University. He is also a Principle Investigator in the IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at BNU. Dr. Xue received his Ph. D. in cognitive neuroscience from Beijing Normal University in 2004. He then spent three years at UCLA as a postdoctoral trainee, with the support of a fellowship from FPR-UCLA Center for Cultural, Brain and Development. He was a research assistant professor at the University of Southern California before landing at Beijing Normal University in 2011. Dr. Xue studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms of learning and memory, language learning, executive control and decision making, mainly using functional neuroimage techniques. He has published more than 80 research papers on academic journals such as Science, PNAS, Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, and Cerebral Cortex. His research is support by Natural Science Foundation of China, the 973 Project, the Thousand Young Scholar Program, and the New Century Excellent Talents Program.