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Neural bases of self-control and social functioning

English title Neural bases of self-control and social functioning
Applicant Knoch Daria
Number 123381
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Fakultät für Psychologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.05.2009 - 30.04.2013
Approved amount 1'574'699.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Psychology
Ethology
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Keywords (9)

neuroscience; decision making; social decision making; self-control; neuroimaging; brain stimulation; impulse control disorder; dopamine; genetics

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The capacity of self-control, i.e. the conscious control of thought, action, and emotions, is essential for adaptive decision making. Problems revolving around self-control failure are numerous (e.g. spending sprees, eating binges, pathological gambling, substance addiction, risk seeking behavior). Moreover, self-control failure is a key component in a variety of neurological and psychiatric syndromes. In addition to their importance in individual decision making, self-control processes are of fundamental significance in social interaction behavior. For example, appropriate social conduct often requires individuals to control or regulate their internal demands or desires in order to conform to social rules and moral norms. The study of self-control can be significantly improved, taking relatively newly emerging theoretical and empirical perspectives as well as new methodological directions into account. This research program has a strong interdisciplinary focus involving psychology, economics, and neuroscience. It aims to answer the following questions: Which brain regions are involved in the neural networks that implement self-control processes? Can pharmacological interventions or external brain stimulation modulate these processes? Do any individual dispositions explain why some individuals have higher self-control capacities than others?A better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie self-control processes has implications for our understanding of the processes leading to substance addiction and other impulse control disorders, as well as to social conduct disorders. Furthermore, it may open up avenues for the development of novel, focal, and effective therapeutic strategies.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Neuronales Bremspedal
Knoch Daria, Schiller Bastian (2012), Neuronales Bremspedal, in Gehirn und Geist, Januar/Februar, 44-55.
Why some people discount more than others: baseline activation in the dorsal PFC mediates the link between COMT genotype and impatient choice
Gianotti Lorena, Figner Bernd, Ebstein Robert, Knoch Daria (2012), Why some people discount more than others: baseline activation in the dorsal PFC mediates the link between COMT genotype and impatient choice, in Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, 1-12.
Dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex orchestrate normative choice.
Baumgartner Thomas, Knoch Daria, Hotz Philine, Eisenegger Christoph, Fehr Ernst (2011), Dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex orchestrate normative choice., in Nature Neuroscience, 14(11), 1468-74.
Lateral prefrontal cortex and self-control in intertemporal choice
Figner Bernd, Knoch Daria, Johnson Eric, Krosch Amy, Lisanby Sarah, Fehr Ernst, Weber Elke (2010), Lateral prefrontal cortex and self-control in intertemporal choice, in NATURE NEUROSCIENCE, 13(5), 538-539.
Dopamine Receptor D4 Polymorphism Predicts the Effect of L-DOPA on Gambling Behavior
Eisenegger Christoph, Knoch Daria, Ebstein Richard, Gianotti Lorena, Sandor Peter, Fehr Ernst (2010), Dopamine Receptor D4 Polymorphism Predicts the Effect of L-DOPA on Gambling Behavior, in BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY, 67(8), 702-706.
A Neural Marker of Costly Punishment Behavior
Knoch Daria, Gianotti Lorena, Baumgartner Thomas, Fehr Ernst (2010), A Neural Marker of Costly Punishment Behavior, in PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 21(3), 337-342.
Disrupting the prefrontal cortex diminishes the human ability to build a good reputation
Knoch Daria, Schneider Frederic, Schunk Daniel, Hohmann Martin, Fehr Ernst (2009), Disrupting the prefrontal cortex diminishes the human ability to build a good reputation, in PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 106(49), 20895-20899.
DAT1 Polymorphism Determines L-DOPA Effects on Learning about Others’ Prosociality
Eisenegger Christoph, Pedroni Andreas, Rieskamp Jörg, Zehnder Christian, Ebstein Robert, Fehr Ernst, Knoch Daria, DAT1 Polymorphism Determines L-DOPA Effects on Learning about Others’ Prosociality, in Plos One.
Diminishing parochialism in intergroup conflict by disrupting the right temporo-parietal junction
Baumgartner Thomas, Schiller Bastian, Rieskamp Jörg, Gianotti Lorena, Knoch Daria, Diminishing parochialism in intergroup conflict by disrupting the right temporo-parietal junction, in Social and Affective Neuroscience.
Dopaminergic Stimulation Increases Selfish Behavior in the Absence of Punishment Threat
Pedroni Andreas, Eisenegger Christoph, Hartmann Matthias, Fischbacher Urs, Knoch Daria, Dopaminergic Stimulation Increases Selfish Behavior in the Absence of Punishment Threat, in Psychopharmacology.
EEG baseline activation in lateral prefrontal regions is related to individual differences in an electrophysiological marker of response inhibition capacity
Schiller Bastian, Gianotti Lorena, Nash Kyle, Knoch Daria, EEG baseline activation in lateral prefrontal regions is related to individual differences in an electrophysiological marker of response inhibition capacity, in Cerebral Cortex.
Impartiality in humans is predicted by brain structure of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex
Baumgartner Thomas, Schiller Bastian, Hill Christopher, Knoch Daria, Impartiality in humans is predicted by brain structure of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, in NeuroImage.
Who is honest and why: Baseline activation in anterior insula predicts inter-individual differences in deceptive behavior
Baumgartner Thomas, Gianotti Lorena, Knoch Daria, Who is honest and why: Baseline activation in anterior insula predicts inter-individual differences in deceptive behavior, in Biological Psychology.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Einhaltung und Durchsetzung sozialer Normen 17.04.2013 Universität Salzburg
Heterogenität im Verhalten: Ein Blick in die Blackbox erhellt Gründe für interindividuelle Unterschiede 15.11.2012 Universität Köln
Versuchungen widerstehen – Was hat unser Gehirn damit zu tun? 12.11.2012 Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut
Self-control from a Social Neuroscience Perspective 06.07.2012 Universität Genf
Selbstkontrolle im sozialen Kontext 30.05.2012 Universität Graz
Selbstkontrolle und soziale Interaktion, Normeneinhaltung und Normendurchsetzung 25.04.2012 Universität Bochum
Kolloquium HEC Universität Lausanne 03.11.2011 Lausanne, Schweiz
PsychoEconomics Seminar 22.03.2011 Konstanz, Deutschland
Biomedical Ethics lecture series "Ethics..it is only natural" 16.03.2011 Genf, Schweiz
Die Durchsetzung sozialer Normen aus Sicht der Experimentellen Sozialpsychologie und der Sozial-Kognitiven Neurowissenschaft 24.02.2011 Universität Bern, Schweiz
Psychobiologisches Kollquium 20.01.2011 Universität Freiburg, Deutschland
Trends in der Psychiatrie, UPD Bern 16.12.2010 Bern, Schweiz
Fortbildungsprogramm Kantonsspital Aarau 09.12.2010 Aarau, Schweiz
Neuroökonomie 02.12.2010 Bonn, Deutschland
Gästekolloquium, Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich 09.11.2010 Zürich, Schweiz
Motivation, affect et personnalité 02.11.2010 Universität Genf, Schweiz
Experimental Economics Meeting 22.04.2010 Universität Konstanz, Deutschland
Congress of the Swiss Psychological Society 19.08.2009 Neuchatel, Schweiz
Neuro 2009 14.05.2009 Funchal, Portugal


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Neuromodulation von sozialer Kognition und Sozialverhalten 30.05.2013 Universität Würzburg
Neuronale Grundlagen der sozialen Interaktion und Kognition 23.06.2011 Heidelberg, Deutschland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Soziale Neurowissenschaft 06.07.2013 Weiterbildung Universität Zürich Master of Advanced Studies Neuropsychologie
Wie Du mir, so ich Dir — Durchsetzung sozialer Normen 13.03.2013 Brain Fair Zürich
Versuchungen widerstehen 12.03.2013 Brain Fair Kantonsspital Aarau
Seniorenuniversität 19.03.2012 Universität Basel
Versuchungen widerstehen – was hat unser Gehirn damit zu tun? 22.11.2011 Universität Zürich Volkshochschule


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Altruistisches Bestrafen und Soziale Normen Österreichischer Rundfunk International 10.05.2013
Media relations: print media, online media Neuronales Bremspedal Gehirn & Geist International 13.12.2011
Talks/events/exhibitions Gehirn und soziale Interaktion German-speaking Switzerland 18.03.2010
Media relations: radio, television Wie das Gehirn unser Sozialverhalten steuert DRS4 German-speaking Switzerland 18.09.2010
Talks/events/exhibitions Wie wir Entscheidungen treffen German-speaking Switzerland 10.10.2010
Talks/events/exhibitions Menschliche Interaktionen aus Sicht der Sozialen Neurowissenschaft German-speaking Switzerland 17.03.2009
Media relations: radio, television Tous manipulés! TSR1, Specimen Western Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
146317 Neural bases of self-control and social functioning 01.05.2013 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

The capacity of self-control, i.e. the conscious control of thought, action, and emotions, is essential for adaptive decision making. Problems revolving around self-control failure are numerous (e.g. spending sprees, eating binges, pathological gambling, substance addiction, risk seeking behavior). Moreover, self-control failure is a key component in a variety of neurological and psychiatric syndromes. In addition to their importance in individual decision making, self-control processes are of fundamental significance in social interaction behavior. For example, appropriate social conduct often requires individuals to control or regulate their internal demands or desires in order to conform to social rules and moral norms. The study of self-control can be significantly improved, taking relatively newly emerging theoretical and empirical perspectives as well as new methodological directions into account. The proposed research program has a strong interdisciplinary focus involving psychology, economics, and neuroscience. It aims to answer the following questions: Which brain regions are involved in the neural networks that implement self-control processes? Can pharmacological interventions or external brain stimulation modulate these processes? Do any individual dispositions explain why some individuals have higher self-control capacities than others?From a theoretical and empirical perspective, I will use paradigms derived from social psychology and economics that allow examining self-control processes in highly complex social and non-social situations. From a methodological perspective, these paradigms will be investigated using neuroscientific research methods such as brain stimulation techniques, pharmacological intervention, metabolic and electrical functional imaging, and molecular genetics. The specific scientific aims are i) to characterize the neural mechanisms underlying self-control by experimentally manipulating brain activity with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), ii) using pharmacological interventions to investigate the neurochemical nature of mechanisms underlying self-control, and iii) to investigate whether individual dispositional differences in neural and genetic characteristics might explain individual variability in self-control ability. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie self-control processes has implications for our understanding of the processes leading to substance addiction and other impulse control disorders, as well as to social conduct disorders. Furthermore, it may open up avenues for the development of novel, focal, and effective therapeutic strategies.The ambitious project plan profits from collaborations with outstanding national and international institutes and will contribute to a further understanding of the neural basis of self-control and social functioning.
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