Impulsive personality traits are often predictive of risky behavior, but not much is known about the neurobiological basis of this relationship. We investigated whether thickness of the cortical mantle varied as a function of impulsive traits and whether such variation also explained recent risky behavior. A community sample of 107 adults (ages 18–55; 54.2% men) completed self-report measures of impulsive traits and risky behavior followed by a neuroimaging protocol. Using the three-factor model of impulsive traits derived from the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale, analysis of the entire cortical mantle identified three thickness clusters that related to impulsive traits. Sensation seeking was negatively related to thickness in the right pericalcarine cortex, whereas impulsive urgency was positively associated with thickness in the left superior parietal and right paracentral lobule. Notably, follow-up analyses showed that thickness in the right pericalcarine cortex also related to recent risky behavior, with the identified cluster mediating the association between sensation seeking and risky behavior. Findings suggest that reduced thickness in the pericalcarine region partially explains the link between sensation seeking and the tendency to engage in risky behavior, providing new insight into the neurobiological basis of these relationships.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited