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Measuring reversal learning: Introducing the Variable Iowa Gambling Task in a study of young and
 

Summary: Measuring reversal learning: Introducing the
Variable Iowa Gambling Task in a study of young and
old normals
Stephanie Kovalchik
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
John Allman
California Institute of Technology, Los Angeles, USA
We developed a modification of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to test whether it
is primarily a measure of reversal learning. Named the Variable IGT (VIGT), the
design involves a contingency reversal midway through the task. Two versions of
the task enabled us to study the effect of a stronger prepotent response on the
ability to identify and adapt to contingency reversal. A significant reversal delay
was observed among normal young players with a more dominating reward
response. Although transitory, this delay is comparable to the characteristic
behavioural impairment observed in patients with damage to the ventromedial
prefrontal cortex (VM), addicts, psychopaths and individuals with other self-
destructive disorders: They persist in a previously rewarding behaviour despite
long-term heavy costs.
We also conducted the VIGT in a sample of healthy elderly adults. Results from
this sample do not support VM-like or risk-aversive theories of ageing but are

  

Source: Allman, John M. - Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine