Brain gray matter structures associated with trait impulsivity: A systematic review and voxel-based meta-analysis

Nanfang Pan, Song Wang, Yajun Zhao, Han Lai, Kun Qin, Jingguang Li, Bharat B. Biswal, John A. Sweeney, Qiyong Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Trait impulsivity is a multifaceted personality characteristic that contributes to maladaptive life outcomes. Although a growing body of neuroimaging studies have investigated the structural correlates of trait impulsivity, the findings remain highly inconsistent and heterogeneous. Herein, we performed a systematic review to depict an integrated delineation of gray matter (GM) substrates of trait impulsivity and a meta-analysis to examine concurrence across previous whole-brain voxel-based morphometry studies. The systematic review summarized the diverse findings in GM morphometry in the past literature, and the quantitative meta-analysis revealed impulsivity-related volumetric GM alterations in prefrontal, temporal, and parietal cortices. In addition, we identified the modulatory effects of age and gender in impulsivity-GM volume associations. The present study advances understanding of brain GM morphometry features underlying trait impulsivity. The findings may have practical implications in the clinical diagnosis of and intervention for impulsivity-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2214-2235
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • borderline personality disorder
  • gray matter
  • impulsivity
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • meta-analysis
  • psychoradiology
  • voxel-based morphometry


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