Psychological Science 2018, (3) 546-552 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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temperament effortful control
neuroanatomical basis
lateral prefrontal cortical
anterior cingulate cortex
executive function
WU Guo-Rong
BI Meng-Hua
QIU Jiang-*
Article by Guo,N.N
Article by Wu,G.R
Article by Bi,M.H
Article by Qiu,J.*

Temperament Effortful Control and the Neuroanatomical Basis of It


Effectively controlling the thoughts and behaviors is crucial for one’s study and work. This capacity can be evaluated using temperament effortful control (EC). EC is defined as “the efficiency of executive attention, including the ability to inhibit a dominant response and/or to activate a subdominant response, to plan, and to detect errors”. EC includes the abilities to voluntarily manage attention and to inhibit or activate behaviors as needed to adapt, especially when people does not want to do so. It is well established that EC includes three sub-dimensions, i.e., inhibitory control, activation control and attention control. Inhibitory control is the capacity to inhibit inappropriate behaviors. Activation control is the capacity to perform an action when there is a strong tendency to avoid it. Attention control is the capacity to focus attention as well as to shift attention when desired. EC reflects the ability to regulate behaviors in accordance with surroundings. Behavioral studies have linked effortful control to children's?academic achievement, interpersonal relationship and aggressive behaviors. EC develops rapidly during the infant and preschool years. Functional neuroimaging studies have discovered that EC is associated with the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and prefrontal cortical (PFC) during performing cognitive tasks. Structural imaging studies have revealed a relationship between EC and the PFC maturation during adolescence, and found that EC is positively related to the dorsal ACC volume. However, previous findings on the neural bases of EC are inconsistent and few studies have been conducted to review EC and its neural basis. This?study reviewed?former?research?about EC,including the concepts and development of EC, as well as its neuroanatomical basis. In addition, we discussed the relationship between EC and executive function. The results?have showed?that EC?and?executive function?are?both?related?to?individual?performance?on?executive?control?tasks,?such?as Stroop?task,?working?memory?task?and?spatial? conflict?task.? Besides,?brain?areas?related?to?EC?are?primarily located? in?salience ?network? and?fronto-parietal?network, including the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, parietal lobe and supplemental motor area. It is well known that these areas mediate? the?neural bases?of?executive? function, suggesting that EC and executive function might share common neuroanatomical bases, and salience?network?and?frontal ?parietal ?network are the neuroanatomical basis of EC. Given that little is known about the neural basis of EC, this study has provided a detailed and in-depth review on EC, which helps us create a specific and systematic understanding of EC.

Keywords temperament effortful control   neuroanatomical basis   lateral prefrontal cortical   anterior cingulate cortex   executive function  
Received 2017-09-05 Revised 2018-01-30 Online: 2018-05-20 
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