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Schizophr Res. 2005 Jan 1;72(2-3):215-24.

Schizophrenia patients demonstrate a distinctive pattern of decision-making impairment on the Iowa Gambling Task.

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University of California Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6968, USA.


Although dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) abnormalities in schizophrenia are well established, several lines of evidence suggest the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) may also be dysfunctional in this disorder. We examined the performance of schizophrenia patients and nonpatient controls on the Iowa Gambling Task [Cognition 50 (1994) 7], a decision-making task sensitive to OFC damage that involves a series of selections from four decks of cards that vary in their reward/punishment profiles. Patients also completed neuropsychological tests assessing DLPFC functions and clinical symptom assessments. The schizophrenic patients demonstrated a pattern of impaired performance that differed both from healthy controls and from the "non-conservative" pattern typically found in patients with OFC lesions. The patients selected from the two card decks that had low frequency and high magnitude punishments significantly more often than the decks with high frequency and low magnitude punishments. Performance on the task was not strongly related to tests sensitive to DLPFC dysfunction but was correlated with negative symptoms. Results suggest that individuals with schizophrenia display a pattern of compromised decision-making that is somewhat distinct from that found in OFC lesion patients and that may be linked to certain clinical symptoms.

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