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Brain Cogn. 2005 Apr;57(3):244-7.

Emotion-based learning and central executive resources: an investigation of intuition and the Iowa Gambling Task.

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  • 1Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, LL57 2AS, United Kingdom. o.turnbull@bangor.ac.uk

Abstract

The role of emotion in complex decision-making can be assessed on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), a widely used neuropsychological measure that may tap a different aspect of executive function than that assessed by conventional measures. Most notably, the 'feeling' about which decks are good or bad, often described in relation to IGT performance, seems reminiscent of decision-making based on intuition-linked to a long history of research in decision-making contrasting the 'intuition' versus 'reasoning' styles of problem solving. To test the claim that the performance on the IGT relies more on emotion-based learning than conventional executive resources for normal performance, a group of participants completed the IGT simultaneously with one of two secondary-tasks, one of which (random number generation) is known to load executive resources. A third group performed the IGT with no secondary-task. If performance on the IGT requires the properties associated with intuitive operations, then participants should either show no disruption when completing a secondary-task, or at least show no selective disruption on a secondary-task that loads for executive function. The rate of learning in the three groups was not significantly different. This suggests that the sorts of cognitive resources loaded by traditional executive tasks such as random number generation do not overlap, in the cognitive architecture, with the emotion-based learning skills that are required for Iowa Gambling Task performance. The findings of the present study are also consistent with a previous claim of the Iowa group that emotion-based learning and working memory resources are doubly dissociable.

PMID:
15780457
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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