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Neuropsicologia Latinoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2075-9479


CARDOSO, Caroline de Oliveira; ZIMMERMANN, Nicolle  and  CARVALHO, Janaína Castro Núñez. Iowa Gambling Task: neural correlates based on brain damage paradigm, psychopathology and neuroimaging evidence. Neuropsicologia Latinoamericana [online]. 2010, vol.2, n.2, pp. 11-19. ISSN 2075-9479.

The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is an international recognized tool to evaluate decision making, an executive function component. Neurological sample's studies with the IGT generally investigate individuals with frontal and/or limbic damage. Regarding research on psychiatric samples, it focuses mainly on disorders that involve disinhibition/impulsiveness characteristics. Such well known designs used in these studies present significant data about decision making processing, but still biased and simplified when compared to the possible knowledge related to the cognitive and biological mechanisms of decision making. In this way, the present review aimed to present the main findings about IGT performance in samples with brain damage and psychiatric disorders. Besides that, a review of recent studies about functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the IGT is proposed. Results from the studies investigating performance and brain injured population indicate that ventromedial region of the prefrontal cortex and limbic system structures are involved in decision making. When it comes to reviewed studies on psychopathology, different psychiatric disorders can be related to impaired decision making processing. Finally, fMRI studies with healthy individuals and the IGT confirmed the involvement of the frontal and limbic regions in decision making processing, reinforcing the performance studies with clinical populations. It is suggested that future behavioral and neuroimaging studies must look for more clear and replicable methods with different neurological and psychiatric samples, aiming at clarifying and strengthening findings, contributing to a greater consensus about the mechanisms of decision making assessed by the IGT paradigm.

Keywords : Executive functions; Decision making; Iowa Gambling Task; Clinical samples; Magnetic resonance imaging.

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