Behavioral Pharma

High-Quality, Reproducible Results for In Vivo Preclinical Pharmacology Research

Have you ever wondered why some people find it so hard to stick to their New Year’s resolutions? Recent research has some surprising answers that might change how we look at willpower. Scientists found a significant portion of our ability to control ourselves and resist temptations is genetic. This means that for some of us, keeping those resolutions is naturally tougher. But the good news is that we can train our brains to develop greater willpower. 

A recent meta-analysis found genetics can significantly influence how much willpower a person has. The research, which looked at data from over 30,000 twins from different countries, suggests about 60% of our ability to control ourselves is inherited. This means some people might naturally find it harder to stick to New Year’s resolutions because of their genes. 

Are we stuck with low tenacity and willpower or can we improve our self-control?

Lisa Feldman Barrett’s team, in a recent review paper, suggests that we can. They offer evidence that the anterior mid-cingulate cortex (aMCC) plays a crucial role in managing our tenacity and willpower. The aMCC is a brain structure that sits in the anterior (or front) medial portion of the brain between the two hemispheres and wraps around the head of the corpus callosum. 

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