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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Impulsivity is implicated in all externalizing disorders. It can be construed as a multifaceted construct involving one or many different cognitive errors/deficits that result from the breakdown in optimal functioning and communication between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the midbrain regions. This chapter reviews literature focused specifically on forms of impulsivity in which top-down executive deficits involving primarily the PFC and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) play an important role. Although a few limitations and controversies in the field remain, there is support for the notion that impulsivity is reflected in several important endophenotypes, including delay discounting, response inhibition, and affective decision making. These processes provide links between brain mechanisms and phenotypic expressions or disorders. Improved understanding of endophenotypes should translate into improved and more personalized approaches to prevention and treatment of externalizing disorders via targeting of specific cognitive control functions.

Keywords: impulsivity, prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, externalizing, response inhibition, delay discounting, decision making, executive function

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