Pigeon studies have shown have identified a single neuron that is involved in controlling impulsive behavior.
“These findings not only shed light on impulsive decision-making, but they may also aid the understanding of neuropathologies, such as drug addiction, gambling, frontal lobe syndrome, and attention-deficit disorders, that are characterized by a decreased ability to wait for a large reward.”
Promising research for the disease-model. But it would also be interesting to study how the neuron might affect other factors that can sometimes be involved in those behaviors such as:
- lack of positive experience–“Is the big reward really possible?”
- lack of any experience–“Haven’t seen any reward like that so don’t believe in it.”
- hidden rewards–“I’m secretly getting something I want more than that reward.”
But I’ve strayed into psychology/mental health here. So, yes, it makes sense to start with the much-more-easily-researched neuron approach and see where it will take us. Like the guy trying to invent the world’s greatest glue who accidentally invented Post-It notes, who knows what motherlode we’ll strike along the way.