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Neural correlates of preferred activities: development of an interest-specific go/nogo task.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2017 Dec 01;12(12):1890-1901

Authors: Bos DJ, Ajodan EL, Silverman MR, Dyke JP, Durston S, Power JD, Jones RM

The activities we choose to spend our leisure time with are intrinsically motivating and vary across individuals. Yet it is unknown how impulse control or neural activity changes when processing a preferred stimulus related to a hobby or interest. Developing a task that assesses the response to preferred interests is of importance as it would be relevant to a range of psychiatric disorders that have hyper- or hypo-arousal to such cues. During functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), 39 healthy adults completed a novel task to test approach behavior and cognitive control to cues that were personalized to the participants’ interests compared to stimuli the participants identified as being of non-interest and colored shapes. fMRI results showed that cues of one’s interest elicited activation in the anterior insula compared to colored shapes. Interests did not change inhibition compared to non-interests and colored shapes and all stimuli equally engaged a frontostriatal circuit. Together the results suggest that adults were sensitive to their interests but were effective at regulating their impulses towards these cues, a skill that is critical for navigating the temptations and distractions in our daily environment.

PMID: 29077964 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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