Translational Findings Linking Poor Inhibitory Control and Heightened Drug Reward Sensitivity

Jessica Weafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Poor inhibitory control and heightened sensitivity to drug reward are two well-established risk factors for substance use disorders. Although these risk factors have traditionally been studied independently, there is reason to expect they may be related at the neurobiological level. Here, translational studies investigating the association between poor inhibition and greater drug reward sensitivity in both laboratory animals and humans are reviewed. Findings show that in animals, inhibitory deficits are associated with greater selfadministration of cocaine, nicotine, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), and alcohol, but not heroin. Likewise, in healthy human volunteers, poor inhibitory control and less brain engagement in right frontal regions during inhibition are associated with greater and more positive subjective responses to amphetamine and alcohol. The potential neurobiological mechanisms underlying this association are discussed, including the number or function of striatal dopamine D2 receptors, as well as the implications of the findings and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 8 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • alcohol
  • disinhibition
  • stimulant
  • stop-signal task
  • subjective response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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