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The neuroanatomical correlates of individual differences in delay discounting: A voxel-based morphometry study

  • Xueting Li (a1), Ping Hu (a1) and Jia Liu (a2)


Delay discounting refers to the reduction in the present value of a future reward as the delay to that reward increases, which is related to various problematic behaviors, such as substance abuse. In this study, we explored the neuroanatomical correlates of delay discounting by employing voxel-based morphometry and the individual difference approach. We found that participants’ delay discounting, measured by the Monetary Choice Questionnaire, was correlated with the gray matter volume (GMV) of two cortical regions. On the one hand, individuals with a larger GMV of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) were likely to discount future values less steeply and choose large but delayed rewards. On the other hand, individuals with a larger GMV of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are likely to discount the future value more steeply and prefer small but immediate rewards. Our study revealed the neuroanatomical correlates of delay discounting across the whole brain, and may help to understand the delay discounting in the frame of the hot versus cool system, which demonstrates the dynamics of resisting present temptation for future rewards.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Author for correspondence: Xueting Li, Email:


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The neuroanatomical correlates of individual differences in delay discounting: A voxel-based morphometry study

  • Xueting Li (a1), Ping Hu (a1) and Jia Liu (a2)


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