The Iowa Gamb
ling Task (IGT) is widely used to assess the role of
emotion in decision making. However, there is only indirect
evidence to support that the task measures emotion. There are
inconsistencies in performance within in healthy populations who
display risk tak
ing traits. Two hundred and fifty participants were
assessed for psychopathy, sensation seeking, and impulsiveness.
The IGT was compared with modified versions that directly
manipulated emotion within in the task by indexing reward and
punishment cards wit
h images varying in emotional content.
Participants continued to learn to avoid risky decks in all versions
of the IGT. The manipulation of emotional content within the task
did affect performance: fearful images contributed to greater risky
s. Across the tasks, psychopathy showed the
strongest relationship to risky deck selections, and lower levels of
psychopathy was associated decreased risky deck selections.
However, psychopathy did not affect learning in the modified
versions. Exploratory analysis on image valance found that
negative images (compared to neutral) benefited learning for
individuals with higher levels of psychopathy. Discussion will
center on the benefits of manipulating emotion directly within the
task as a means to assess th
e validity of the IGT.
The debate surrounding how emotion and c
organized in the brain often lead
Marker Hypothesis. This theory endorses a highly interactive
process between emotion and cognition, but has been
criticized for being too broad to capture the specific links
between the t
wo. It also implies that emotion operates from a
neural architecture that is dissociable from cognition.
Although empirical findings from the Iowa Gambling Task
lend support for the theory, this can promote a false
dichotomy between emotion and cognition. Issues will be
that the theory and the task are ill
formulated to account for the phases of decision making.
Further theoretical work may be required to align the task
with Damasio’s view of emotion as integrated with cognition.