Distinct Roles of Prefrontal Cortical Subregions in the Iowa Gambling Task

King's College London, Section of Neuroscience and Emotion, Division of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.67). 10/2008; 19(5):1134-43. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhn154
Source: PubMed


The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) assesses decision-making under initially ambiguous conditions. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging
data suggest, albeit inconsistently, the involvement of numerous prefrontal cortical regions in task performance. To clarify
the contributions of different prefrontal regions, we developed and validated a version of the IGT specifically modified for
event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. General decision-making in healthy males elicited activation in the ventromedial
prefrontal cortex. Choices from disadvantageous versus advantageous card decks produced activation in the medial frontal gyrus,
lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and insula. Moreover, activation in these regions, along with the pre-supplementary motor
area (pre-SMA) and secondary somatosensory cortex, was positively associated with task performance. Lateral OFC and pre-SMA
activation also showed a significant modulation over time, suggesting a role in learning. Striato-thalamic regions responded
to wins more than losses. These results both replicate and add to previous findings and help to reconcile inconsistencies
in neuropsychological data. They reveal that deciding advantageously under initially ambiguous conditions may require both
continuous and dynamic processes involving both the ventral and dorsal prefrontal cortex.

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    • "We suggest that the right vmPFC may have a distinct role in processing insight into the nature of deck B that was gained prior to sleep. During IGT learning the right vmPFC has been linked to expectancy of negative punishments (Christakou et al., 2009) and generation of anticipatory SCRs (Tranel et al., 2002), whereas left PFC activity precedes shifts in choice (Lawrence et al., 2009) and is linked to monitoring of unsteady outcomes (Windmann et al., 2006) and reversal learning (Fellows & Farah, 2003). Thus, it is possible that the right vmPFC theta may be specifically involved in processing emotional insight into the task, where the left vmPFC may reflect online monitoring of unexpected outcomes (i.e., unexpected punishment ) and more general cognitive processes involved in IGT learning. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research is beginning to reveal an intricate relationship between sleep and decision-making. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is a unique decision-making task that relies on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), an area that integrates and weighs previous experiences with reward and loss to select choices with the highest overall value. Recently, it has been demonstrated that a period of sleep can enhance decision-making on this task. Our study investigated the sleep mechanisms (sleep stages and cortical activity) that underlie this improvement. We recorded electrophysiology for 3 consecutive nights: a habituation, baseline, and acquisition night. On acquisition night participants were administered either a 200-trial IGT (IGT group; n = 13) or a 200-trial control (IGT-control group; n = 8) version of the task prior to sleep. Compared with baseline, the IGT group had a significant increase in theta frequency (4 Hz-8 Hz) on cites located above vmPFC and left prefrontal cortex during REM sleep. This increase correlated with subsequent performance improvement from deck B, a high reward deck with negative long-term outcomes. Furthermore, presleep emotional arousal (measured via skin conductance response) toward deck B correlated to increased theta activity above the right vmPFC during REM sleep. Overall, these results suggests that insight into deck B may be enhanced via vmPFC theta activity during REM sleep and REM sleep may have distinct mechanisms for processing decision-making information. (PsycINFO Database Record
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Behavioral Neuroscience
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    • "Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (2015), 2.2.2. Iowa Gambling task (IGT) Participants also performed the modified computerized version of the IGT (Bechara et al., 1999) (for details, see Lawrence et al. (2009)). All participants were task-naïve. "
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    ABSTRACT: Suicidal vulnerability has been related to impaired value-based decision-making and increased sensitivity to social threat, mediated by the prefrontal cortex. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we aimed at replicating these previous findings by measuring brain activation during the Iowa Gambling Task and an emotional faces viewing task. Participants comprised 15 euthymic suicide attempters (history of depression and suicidal behavior) who were compared with 23 euthymic patient controls (history of depression without suicidal history) and 35 healthy controls. The following five model-based regions of interest were investigated: the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), medial (MPFC) and dorsal prefrontal cortex (DPFC). Suicide attempters relative to patient controls showed (1) increased response to angry vs. neutral faces in the left OFC and the VLPFC, as previously reported; (2) increased response to wins vs. losses in the right OFC, DPFC and ACC; (3) decreased response to risky vs. safe choices in the left DPFC; and (4) decreased response to sad vs. neutral faces in the right ACC. This study links impaired valuation processing (here for signals of social threat, sadness and reward) to prefrontal cortex dysfunction in suicide attempters. These long-term deficits may underlie the impaired decision-making and social difficulties found in suicide attempters.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
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    • "Society for the Study of Addiction Addiction Biology term (high reward), but disadvantageous in the long run (higher punishment); other choices are less attractive in the short term (low reward), but advantageous in the long run (lower punishment). The phase of decision making during the IGT (i.e. to choose among four decks of cards), and especially choosing from risky decks (versus less risky decks), has been shown to be underlined by a complex neurocognitive circuitry encompassing multiple neural systems (Bechara et al. 1999; Bolla et al. 2003; Tanabe et al. 2007; Christakou et al. 2009; Lawrence et al. 2009; Li et al. 2010; Power, Goodyear & Crockford 2012), and with a certain degree of dynamic balance among them (Bechara 2005; Verdejo-Garcia & Bechara 2009). More specifically, according to the somatic marker hypothesis (Damasio 1994; Bechara & Damasio 2005), the elaboration of a decision triggers immediate and future prospects of an option, which are underlined by numerous affective/emotional (somatic) signals that conflict with each other. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of different neural systems on monetary decision making in frequent poker gamblers, who vary in their degree of problem gambling. Fifteen frequent poker players, ranging from non-problem to high-problem gambling, and 15 non-gambler controls were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). During IGT deck selection, between-group fMRI analyses showed that frequent poker gamblers exhibited higher ventral-striatal but lower dorsolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal activations as compared with controls. Moreover, using functional connectivity analyses, we observed higher ventral-striatal connectivity in poker players, and in regions involved in attentional/motor control (posterior cingulate), visual (occipital gyrus) and auditory (temporal gyrus) processing. In poker gamblers, scores of problem gambling severity were positively associated with ventral-striatal activations and with the connectivity between the ventral-striatum seed and the occipital fusiform gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus. Present results are consistent with findings from recent brain imaging studies showing that gambling disorder is associated with heightened motivational-reward processes during monetary decision making, which may hamper one's ability to moderate his level of monetary risk taking. © 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Addiction Biology
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