Motivation, Brain and Behavior (MBB) team, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle (ICM)
Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France
How to resist temptation: the dangers of executive fatigue
The capacity to resist temptation of immediate pleasures is a major factor of social insertion and professional success. This self-control capacity is critical in inter-temporal choices, where immediate rewards are opposed to bigger but delayed rewards. Recent studies have suggested that resisting temptation requires the intervention of a prefronto-parietal system classically involved in executive control. In this talk, I will provide evidence that the executive control system is susceptible to fatigue, after periods of intense mobilization that range from hours to weeks. Executive fatigue is associated with reduced activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex during decision making, and results in more impulsive inter-temporal choices – a greater propensity to favor immediate rewards over long-term goals.