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New developments in human neurocognition: clinical, genetic, and brain imaging correlates of impulsivity and compulsivity

  • Naomi A Fineberg (a1) (a2) (a3), Samuel R. Chamberlain (a3) (a4), Anna E. Goudriaan (a5) (a6), Dan J. Stein (a7), Louk J. M. J. Vanderschuren (a8) (a9), Claire M. Gillan (a10) (a11), Sameer Shekar (a1), Philip A. P. M. Gorwood (a12) (a13), Valerie Voon (a10) (a14), Sharon Morein-Zamir (a10) (a14), Damiaan Denys (a15) (a16), Barbara J. Sahakian (a3) (a10), F. Gerard Moeller (a17), Trevor W. Robbins (a10) (a11) and Marc N. Potenza (a18)...


Impulsivity and compulsivity represent useful conceptualizations that involve dissociable cognitive functions, which are mediated by neuroanatomically and neurochemically distinct components of cortico-subcortical circuitry. The constructs were historically viewed as diametrically opposed, with impulsivity being associated with risk-seeking and compulsivity with harm-avoidance. However, they are increasingly recognized to be linked by shared neuropsychological mechanisms involving dysfunctional inhibition of thoughts and behaviors. In this article, we selectively review new developments in the investigation of the neurocognition of impulsivity and compulsivity in humans, in order to advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of impulsive, compulsive, and addictive disorders and indicate new directions for research.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Prof. Naomi A. Fineberg, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS University Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Howlands, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 4HQ, UK. (Email:


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This research was funded in part by NIH grants from NIDA (R01 DA 019039, R01 DA018647, P20 DA027844) and NIAAA (RL1 AA017539), the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services, the Connecticut Mental Health Center, an unrestricted research gift from the Mohegan Sun casino, and the Yale Gambling Center of Research Excellence Award grant from the National Center for Responsible Gaming. The funding agencies did not provide input or comment on the content of the manuscript, and the content of the manuscript reflects the contributions and thoughts of the authors and not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. A.G. was supported by an Addiction Program grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-ZonMW grant 31160003). This research was also supported by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Networks Initiative and the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders.

We would like to thank Mr. Sameer Shekar for editing and formatting the manuscript and coordinating its submission.



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New developments in human neurocognition: clinical, genetic, and brain imaging correlates of impulsivity and compulsivity

  • Naomi A Fineberg (a1) (a2) (a3), Samuel R. Chamberlain (a3) (a4), Anna E. Goudriaan (a5) (a6), Dan J. Stein (a7), Louk J. M. J. Vanderschuren (a8) (a9), Claire M. Gillan (a10) (a11), Sameer Shekar (a1), Philip A. P. M. Gorwood (a12) (a13), Valerie Voon (a10) (a14), Sharon Morein-Zamir (a10) (a14), Damiaan Denys (a15) (a16), Barbara J. Sahakian (a3) (a10), F. Gerard Moeller (a17), Trevor W. Robbins (a10) (a11) and Marc N. Potenza (a18)...


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