Neural correlates of impulsivity in bipolar disorder: A systematic review and clinical implications

Chi C. Chan, Sharon Alter, Erin A. Hazlett, Keith M. Shafritz, Rachel Yehuda, Marianne Goodman, M. Mehmet Haznedar, Philip R. Szeszko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Impulsivity is a common feature of bipolar disorder (BD) with ramifications for functional impairment and premature mortality. This PRISMA-guided systematic review aims to integrate findings on the neurocircuitry associated with impulsivity in BD. We searched for functional neuroimaging studies that examined rapid-response impulsivity and choice impulsivity using the Go/No-Go Task, Stop-Signal Task, and Delay Discounting Task. Findings from 33 studies were synthesized with an emphasis on the effect of mood state of the sample and affective salience of the task. Results suggest trait-like brain activation abnormalities in regions implicated in impulsivity that persist across mood states. During rapid-response inhibition, BD exhibit under-activation of key frontal, insular, parietal, cingulate, and thalamic regions, but over-activation of these regions when the task involves emotional stimuli. Delay discounting tasks with functional neuroimaging in BD are lacking, but hyperactivity of orbitofrontal and striatal regions associated with reward hypersensitivity may be related to difficulty delaying gratification. We propose a working model of neurocircuitry dysfunction underlying behavioral impulsivity in BD. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105109
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Choice impulsivity
  • Delay discounting
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Go/no-go
  • Inhibition
  • Neurocircuitry
  • Rapid-response impulsivity
  • Stop-signal task


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