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Eur Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;21(4):270-3. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

The relationship of impulsivity to response inhibition and decision-making in remitted patients with bipolar disorder.

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Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis (PO66), Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.



Impulsivity, a core feature of bipolar disorder (BD), is a multifaceted concept encompassing failure of response inhibition and poor decision-making. Abnormalities in these two cognitive domains have been reported in BD patients but their relationship with impulsivity has not been explored.


Twenty-five remitted patients with BD completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) and performed the Hayling Sentence Completion Task (HSCT) and a computerized version of the Iowa Gambling task. The HSCT total errors scaled score was used as a measure of response inhibition while the gabling task score, which reflects participants' ability to make advantageous choices, was used a measure of decision making.


Higher scores on the BIS attentional and non-planning subscales were respectively associated with more errors in the HSCT and less advantageous choices in the gambling task.


All patients were medicated. Healthy participants were not included.


Viewed in the context of recent relevant studies our findings suggest that impulsivity, response inhibition and decision-making in BD may represent behavioural manifestations of the same underlying biological mechanism possibly linked to ventral prefrontal cortical function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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