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      Gambling, motor cautiousness, and choice impulsivity: An experimental study

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          Impulsivity is currently more commonly regarded as multifaceted, comprising both motor and cognitive subdomains. However, it is less clear how distinct these subdomains are, and the extent to which they interact and draw upon the same psychological resources.


          The present experiment comprised 70 regular (non-problem) gamblers, and investigated the potential to induce impulsivity transfer effects within an electronic gambling context. Original and existing harm-minimization approaches were tested for their efficacy in inducing motor cautiousness during an electronic slot machine simulation. Participants were exposed to a forced discriminatory motor choice procedure, or pop-up responsible gambling messages that either contained emotive or non-emotive responsible gambling content. The subsequent impact these interventions had on delay discounting and reflection impulsivity was also measured using the 27-item Monetary Choice Questionnaire and Information Sampling Task, respectively.


          Findings demonstrated that only original harm-minimization approaches, which force the gambler to engage in discriminatory motor choice procedures during gambling, were successful in inducing motor cautiousness. However, both the discriminatory choice procedure and emotive message harm-minimization approaches were successful in facilitating cognitive choice, even though the emotive message intervention was unsuccessful in facilitating motor response inhibition, suggesting both an indirect motor cautiousness route, and a more direct route to improved cognitive choice during gambling.


          This study demonstrated that decision-making during gambling can be improved by making simple structural changes to slot machine platforms, by encouraging active engagement in motor processes, which result in a transfer of cautiousness to wider cognitive domains.

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          Most cited references 61

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          Specific impairments of planning.

           T Shallice (1982)
          An information-processing model is outlined that predicts that performance on non-routine tasks can be impaired independently of performance on routine tasks. The model is related to views on frontal lobe functions, particularly those of Luria. Two methods of obtaining more rigorous tests of the model are discussed. One makes use of ideas from artificial intelligence to derive a task heavily loaded on planning abilities. A group of patients with left anterior lesions has a specific deficit on the task. Subsidiary investigations support the inference that this is a planning impairment.
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            Emotion, decision making and the orbitofrontal cortex.

            The somatic marker hypothesis provides a systems-level neuroanatomical and cognitive framework for decision making and the influence on it by emotion. The key idea of this hypothesis is that decision making is a process that is influenced by marker signals that arise in bioregulatory processes, including those that express themselves in emotions and feelings. This influence can occur at multiple levels of operation, some of which occur consciously and some of which occur non-consciously. Here we review studies that confirm various predictions from the hypothesis. The orbitofrontal cortex represents one critical structure in a neural system subserving decision making. Decision making is not mediated by the orbitofrontal cortex alone, but arises from large-scale systems that include other cortical and subcortical components. Such structures include the amygdala, the somatosensory/insular cortices and the peripheral nervous system. Here we focus only on the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in decision making and emotional processing, and the relationship between emotion, decision making and other cognitive functions of the frontal lobe, namely working memory.
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              Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex.

              Following damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, humans develop a defect in real-life decision-making, which contrasts with otherwise normal intellectual functions. Currently, there is no neuropsychological probe to detect in the laboratory, and the cognitive and neural mechanisms responsible for this defect have resisted explanation. Here, using a novel task which simulates real-life decision-making in the way it factors uncertainty of premises and outcomes, as well as reward and punishment, we find that prefrontal patients, unlike controls, are oblivious to the future consequences of their actions, and seem to be guided by immediate prospects only. This finding offers, for the first time, the possibility of detecting these patients' elusive impairment in the laboratory, measuring it, and investigating its possible causes.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                14 November 2018
                December 2018
                : 7
                : 4
                : 1030-1043
                [ 1 ]International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University , Nottingham, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Andrew Harris; International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, 50 Shakespeare Street, Nottingham NG1 4GQ, UK; Phone: +44 115 84 88434; E-mail: Andrew.harris2015@
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 3, Equations: 1, References: 60, Pages: 14
                Funding sources: AH and MDG have received funding for research projects in the area of gambling education for young people, social responsibility in gambling and gambling treatment from GambleAware (formerly the Responsibility in Gambling Trust), a charitable body that funds its research program based on donations from the gambling industry.
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