Article

The Iowa gambling task in fMRI Images

Department of Psychology, Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 90089-2520, USA.
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 6.92). 11/2009; 31(3):410-23. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20875
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is a sensitive test for the detection of decision-making impairments in several neurological and psychiatric populations. Very few studies have employed the IGT in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) investigations, in part, because the task is cognitively complex. Here we report a method for exploring brain activity using fMRI during performance of the IGT. Decision-making during the IGT was associated with activity in several brain regions in a group of healthy individuals. The activated regions were consistent with the neural circuitry hypothesized to underlie somatic marker activation and decision-making. Specifically, a neural circuitry involving the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (for working memory), the insula and posterior cingulate cortex (for representations of emotional states), the mesial orbitofrontal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (for coupling the two previous processes), the ventral striatum and anterior cingulate/SMA (supplementary motor area) for implementing behavioral decisions was engaged. These results have implications for using the IGT to study abnormal mechanisms of decision making in a variety of clinical populations.

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    • "Additionally, we modulate the parameter responsible for outcome processing to create a second condition where we contrast whether this manipulation is sufficient to emulate a maladaptive bias behavior that has been observed in clinical populations. This modification is based upon the evidence that relates impairment performances in the IGT to a lack of impulsive behavior control and poor integration of negative past experiences (Bechara et al., 1994; Turnbull et al., 2005; Li et al., 2010). By doing so, we can observe, firstly, the basic computational mechanisms of learning within uncertain environment, and secondly, the accuracy of the model for simulating decision-making under uncertainty. "
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    ABSTRACT: Learning under uncertainty is a common task that people face in their daily life. This process relies on the cognitive ability to adjust behavior to environmental demands. Although the biological underpinnings of those cognitive processes have been extensively studied, there has been little work in formal models seeking to capture the fundamental dynamic of learning under uncertainty. In the present work, we aimed to understand the basic cognitive mechanisms of outcome processing involved in decisions under uncertainty and to evaluate the relevance of previous experiences in enhancing learning processes within such uncertain context. We propose a formal model that emulates the behavior of people playing a well established paradigm (Iowa Gambling Task -IGT) and compare its outcome with a behavioral experiment. We further explored whether it was possible to emulate maladaptive behavior observed in clinical samples by modifying the model parameter which controls the update of expected outcomes distributions. Results showed that the performance of the model resembles the observed participant performance as well as IGT performance by healthy subjects described in the literature. Interestingly, the model converges faster than some subjects on the decks with higher net expected outcome. Furthermore, the modified version of the model replicated the trend observed in clinical samples performing the task. We argue that the basic cognitive component underlying learning under uncertainty can be represented as a differential equation that considers the outcomes of previous decisions for guiding the agent to an adaptive strategy.
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 12/2014; 5(167). DOI:10.3389/fncom.2014.00167 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    • "fMRI studies also show that compared to non-food-related pictures, food-related pictures activate the striatum [92] in healthy individuals. Consistent with this finding, we observed right striatum activation when responses to high-calorie food pictures were compared to responses to low-calorie food pictures, although previous studies showed that the dorsal striatum is not strictly dedicated to habit behaviors, and that it can be involved in decision-making [28, 82, 93–95]. Animal studies also have shown that direct pharmacological activation of the striatum, amygdalo-hypothalamic circuit produced hyperphagia and increased preferentially the intake of foods high in fat and sugar, even in animals fed beyond apparent satiety [96]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The loss of self-control or inability to resist tempting/rewarding foods, and the development of less healthful eating habits may be explained by three key neural systems: (1) a hyper-functioning striatum system driven by external rewarding cues; (2) a hypo-functioning decision-making and impulse control system; and (3) an altered insula system involved in the translation of homeostatic and interoceptive signals into self-awareness and what may be subjectively experienced as a feeling. Methods The present study examined the activity within two of these neural systems when subjects were exposed to images of high-calorie versus low-calorie foods using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and related this activity to dietary intake, assessed by 24-hour recall. Thirty youth (mean BMI = 23.1 kg/m2, range = 19.1 - 33.7; age =19.7 years, range = 14 - 22) were scanned using fMRI while performing food-specific go/nogo tasks. Results Behaviorally, participants more readily pressed a response button when go trials consisted of high-calorie food cues (HGo task) and less readily pressed the response button when go trials consisted of low-calorie food cues (LGo task). This habitual response to high-calorie food cues was greater for individuals with higher BMI and individuals who reportedly consume more high-calorie foods. Response inhibition to the high-calorie food cues was most difficult for individuals with a higher BMI and individuals who reportedly consume more high-calorie foods. fMRI results confirmed our hypotheses that (1) the "habitual" system (right striatum) was more activated in response to high-calorie food cues during the go trials than low-calorie food go trials, and its activity correlated with participants’ BMI, as well as their consumption of high-calorie foods; (2) the prefrontal system was more active in nogo trials than go trials, and this activity was inversely correlated with BMI and high-calorie food consumption. Conclusions Using a cross-sectional design, our findings help increase understanding of the neural basis of one’s loss of ability to self-control when faced with tempting food cues. Though the design does not permit inferences regarding whether the inhibitory control deficits and hyper-responsivity of reward regions are individual vulnerability factors for overeating, or the results of habitual overeating.
    Nutrition Journal 09/2014; 13(1):92. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-13-92 · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    • "More specifically, poor IGT performance and lower anticipatory SCRs were observed in amygdala-damaged patients (Bechara et al., 1999) as well as in patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) lesions (Bechara and Damasio, 2005). Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, several studies have reported the activation of a prefrontal network including the VMPFC in the IGT which provides convergent evidence that decision-making under uncertainty might rely on an emotional neural circuitry (Lawrence et al., 2008; Li et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental studies using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) or child-friendly adaptations of the IGT converged in showing that children and adolescents exhibit a strong bias in favor of disadvantageous choices whereas adults learn to decide advantageously during the course of the task. In the present article, we reviewed developmental studies that used the IGT or child-friendly adaptations of the IGT to show how these findings provide a better understanding of the processes involved in decision-making under uncertainty. For instance, developmental studies have underlined that until late adolescence, the dominant strategy is to focus only on the frequency of punishment and to choose among options with infrequent losses. Indeed, school-aged children and adolescents’ choices in the IGT seem to be guided by the loss frequency leading them to fail in distinguishing between advantageous and disadvantageous options. In addition, recent developmental studies revealed that adults switch less often after losses than school-aged children and adolescents. These findings suggest that psychological tolerance to loss may facilitate learning the characteristics of each option, which in turn improves the ability to choose advantageously. In conclusion, developmental studies help us refine our understanding of decision-making.
    Frontiers in Psychology 07/2014; 5. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00915 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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