Many psychopathologies, including addictions, are characterized by inhibitory control deficits. In this regard, recent studies on substance-related disorders (SRD) have shown an impairment in the ability to inhibit potentially interfering memories, despite preserved motor inhibition. To investigate whether the same dissociation could also characterize gambling disorder (GD) in a transdiagnostic perspective, we tested both cognitive and motor inhibitory processes through dedicated tasks, for the first time in this behavioral addiction.
30 outpatients with GD and 30 healthy controls performed a go/no-go task addressing the integrity of motor inhibition, and the Retrieval Practice Paradigm, a task addressing the integrity of memory inhibition as indexed by the Retrieval-Induced Forgetting (RIF) effect. Self-report questionnaires assessing impulsivity were also administered.
Whereas RIF was similar across the two groups, patients showed more commission errors in the go/no-go task, and higher self-rated scores of impulsivity than controls.
The present findings suggest preserved memory inhibition and impaired motor response inhibition in GD, a pattern of inhibitory deficits opposite to that previously reported for SRD. Therefore, although both GD and SRD are characterized by altered inhibitory processing, a more fine-grained analysis revealed a specific inhibitory profile indicating vulnerability in different inhibitory components.