SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE / ARTICLE SCIENTIFIQUE
Wang, S., Kong, F., Zhou, M., Chen, T., Yang, X., Chen, G., & Gong, Q. (2017). Brain Structure Linking Delay Discounting and Academic Performance. Human Brain Mapping.
As a component of self-discipline, delay discounting refers to the ability to wait longer for preferred rewards and plays a pivotal role in shaping students’ academic performance. However, the neural basis of the association between delay discounting and academic performance remains largely unknown. Here, we examined the neuroanatomical substrates underlying delay discounting and academic performance in 214 adolescents via voxel-based morphometry (VBM) by performing structural magnetic resonance imaging (S-MRI). Behaviorally, we confirmed the significant correlation between delay discounting and academic performance. Neurally, whole-brain regression analyses indicated that regional gray matter volume (rGMV) of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was associated with both delay discounting and academic performance. Furthermore, delay discounting partly accounted for the association between academic performance and brain structure. Differences in the rGMV of the left DLPFC related to academic performance explained over one-third of the impact of delay discounting on academic performance. Overall, these results provide the first evidence for the common neural basis linking delay discounting and academic performance.