Serotonin plays a key role in patience and impulse control, research says - Deepstash
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Serotonin and impulsive behaviours

Serotonin and impulsive behaviours

Research suggests patience - along with impulse control - can be linked to specific neurological systems.

A previous study showed a possible link between a lack of serotonin receptors in the brain and impulsive behaviours. Another study went further by researching the role of the DRN (dorsal raphe nucleus) in the brain that contains serotonin-releasing neurons. During this study, they found a casual relationship serotonin has on the DRN region and the patience for anticipated rewards.

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Brain areas that impact patience and impulse control

  • NAc - nucleus accumbens, a key region that mediates a variety of behaviors, like reward and satisfaction.
  • OFC - orbitofrontal cortex is considered to have a role in higher-order thinking.
  • mPFC - medial prefrontal cortex is also suggested to mediate decision-making.

Damage to these three regions leads to an increase in impulsive behaviours. Triggering the OFC area improved patience when waiting for food while stimulating the NAc had no impact. When stimulating the brain's mPFC region in mice, their ability to wait was enhanced, suggesting that serotonin in the mPFC can impact the animal's ability to evaluate the time required to wait for a reward.

These findings could lead to the development of drug treatments for conditions such as depression and addiction.

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