Neurobiology of Impulsivity, Risk- taking, and Reward in Youth at Risk for Addiction
Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Division
Psychiatric Neuroimaging Program
Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, 3rd Floor
The Benningfield lab uses functional MRI to examine neurobiological factors related to vulnerability for addiction including impulsivity, risk taking and reward processing. Dr. Benningfield is a Child Psychiatrist whose primary interest lies in early intervention and prevention of mental illness including substance use disorders. The current focus of the work in her lab examines ADHD as a risk factor for substance use disorders. Impulsivity and risk taking are both determinants and consequences of persistent substance use and are core features of ADHD. Reward mechanisms are fundamental to facilitating the learning processes that mediate drug dependence. Understanding the neurobiology related to reward processing, impulsivity, and risk taking in adolescents and how these factors relate to one another is essential for informing prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.