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Dev Psychol. 2004 Nov;40(6):1148-58.

Adolescents' performance on the Iowa Gambling Task: implications for the development of decision making and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


Healthy adolescents (79 girls, 66 boys), ages 9-17, completed the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT; A. Bechara, A. R. Damasio, H. Damasio, & S. W. Anderson, 1994) as well as working memory (digit span) and behavioral inhibition (go/no-go) tasks. Cross-sectional age-related changes were seen on all 3 tasks. Gender differences were seen in IGT deck preference and attentional variables (i.e., go/no-go hit rate and forward digit span). After age, gender, and general intellectual abilities were controlled for, IGT performance was not predicted by working memory or behavioral inhibition scores. Findings suggest that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex or its connections are functionally maturing during adolescence in a manner that can be distinguished from maturation of other prefrontal regions. Development of these functions may continue into young adulthood.

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