Neuroanatomical foundations of delayed reward discounting decision making II: Evaluation of sulcal morphology and fractal dimensionality
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Delayed reward discounting (DRD) is a form of decision-making reflecting valuation of smaller immediate rewards versus larger delayed rewards, and high DRD has been linked to several health behaviors, including substance use disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and obesity. Elucidating the underlying neuroanatomical factors may offer important insights into the etiology of these conditions. We used structural MRI scans of 1038 Human Connectome Project participants (Mage = 28.86, 54.7% female) to explore two novel measures of neuroanatomy related to DRD: 1) sulcal morphology (SM; depth and width) and 2) fractal dimensionality (FD), or cortical morphometric complexity, of parcellated cortical and subcortical regions. To ascertain unique contributions to DRD preferences, indicators that displayed significant partial correlations with DRD after family-wise error correction were entered into iterative mixed-effect models guided by the association magnitude. When considering only SM indicators, the depth of the right inferior and width of the left central sulci were uniquely associated with DRD preferences. When considering only FD indicators, the FD of the left middle temporal gyrus, right lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and left lateral occipital and entorhinal cortices uniquely contributed DRD. When considering SM and FD indicators simultaneously, the right inferior frontal sulcus depth and left central sulcus width; and the FD of the left middle temporal gyrus, lateral occipital cortex and entorhinal cortex were uniquely associated with DRD. These results implicate SM and FD as features of the brain that underlie variation in the DRD decision-making phenotype and as promising candidates for understanding DRD as a biobehavioral disease process.
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