The Iowa Gambling Task and the somatic marker hypothesis

Department of Neurology (Division of Cognitive Neuroscience), University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa, USA.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Impact Factor: 21.97). 05/2005; 9(4):159-62; discussion 162-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.02.002
Source: PubMed


A recent study by Maia and McClelland on participants' knowledge in the Iowa Gambling Task suggests a different interpretation for an experiment we reported in 1997. The authors use their results to question the evidence for the somatic marker hypothesis. Here we consider whether the authors' conclusions are justified.

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    • "Both internal factors (e.g., current need, past experience, emotion) and external factors (e.g., environmental conditions, time constraints) can influence this evaluation process. Normally, decisions are made under uncertain conditions (Kacelnik and Bateson 1997), which can be divided into decisions involving risk (where the probability of each outcome is known) and decisions involving ambiguity (where the outcome is unknown) (Bechara et al. 2005; Krain et al. 2006). There is evidence supporting the notion that the two processes, decisionmaking under ambiguity (judgement) and decision-making under risk, involve different neural substrates (Krain et al. 2006). "
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    • "The BART could be solved by following response preferences based on somatic markers ( Bechara et al . , 2005 ; Brand et al . , 2006 ) , as well , which would more likely characterize participants with low EFs . Consequently , in the present study , we assumed that participants with high EFs would solve the BART with a different underlying strategy . We expected larger FRN amplitude in the high EF than in the low EF group reflecting enhanced fe"
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    • "In the literature of decision-making there is a common distinction between decisions under ambiguity and decisions under risk (e.g., Bechara et al., 2005). In ambiguous decisions, the probability of a specific outcome is either unknown or close to chance and the two choices do not differ in reward value nor in the likelihood of negative consequences. "
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