Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Human Brain Imaging Links Dopaminergic Systems to Impulsivity.

  • Author(s): London, Edythe D
  • et al.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.

Molecular and functional imaging techniques have been used and combined with pharmacological probes to evaluate the role of dopamine in impulsivity. Overall, strong evidence links striatal dopaminergic function with impulsivity, measured by self-reports and laboratory tests of cognitive control and reward-based decision-making. The combination of molecular imaging using positron emission tomography (PET) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) specifically implicates striatal D2-type dopamine receptors (i.e., D2 and D3) and corticostriatal connectivity in cognitive control. Low levels of striatal and midbrain D2-type receptor availability correlate with self-reported impulsivity, whereas striatal D2-type receptor availability shows positive correlation with motor response inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Impulsive choice on reward-based decision-making tasks also is related to deficits in striatal D2-type dopamine receptor availability, and there is evidence for an inverted U-shaped function in this relationship, reflecting an optimum of striatal dopaminergic activity. Findings from studies of clinical populations that present striatal dopamine D2-type receptor deficits as well as healthy control research participants identify D2-type receptors as therapeutic targets to improve cognitive control.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item