Delay of Gratification is Associated with White Matter Connectivity in the Dorsal Prefrontal Cortex: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Individual variability in delay of gratification (DG) is associated with a number of important outcomes in both non-human and human primates. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), this study describes the relationship between probabilistic estimates of white matter tracts projecting from the caudate to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and DG abilities in a sample of 49 captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). After accounting for time between collection of DTI scans and DG measurement, age and sex, higher white matter connectivity between the caudate and right dorsal PFC was found to be significantly associated with the acquisition (i.e. training phase) but not the maintenance of DG abilities. No other associations were found to be significant. The integrity of white matter connectivity between regions of the striatum and the PFC appear to be associated with inhibitory control in chimpanzees, with perturbations on this circuit potentially leading to a variety of maladaptive outcomes. Additionally, results have potential translational implications for understanding the pathophysiology of a number of psychiatric and clinical outcomes in humans.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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