Influence of neurobehavioral incentive valence and magnitude on alcohol drinking behavior

Jane E. Joseph, Xun Zhu, Christine R. Corbly, Stacia DeSantis, Dustin C. Lee, Grace Baik, Seth Kiser, Yang Jiang, Donald R. Lynam, Thomas H. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The monetary incentive delay (MID) task is a widely used probe for isolating neural circuitry in the human brain associated with incentive motivation. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, 82 young adults, characterized along dimensions of impulsive sensation seeking, completed a MID task. fMRI and behavioral incentive functions were decomposed into incentive valence and magnitude parameters, which were used as predictors in linear regression to determine whether mesolimbic response is associated with problem drinking and recent alcohol use. Alcohol use was best explained by higher fMRI response to anticipation of losses and feedback on high gains in the thalamus. In contrast, problem drinking was best explained by reduced sensitivity to large incentive values in mesolimbic regions in the anticipation phase and increased sensitivity to small incentive values in the dorsal caudate nucleus in the feedback phase. Altered fMRI responses to monetary incentives in mesolimbic circuitry, particularly those alterations associated with problem drinking, may serve as potential early indicators of substance abuse trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-385
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Alcohol use
  • Impulsivity
  • Monetary incentive delay
  • Problem drinking
  • Sensation seeking
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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