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Pers Individ Dif. 2009 Feb 1;46(3):303.

Impulsivity in Decision-Making: An Event-Related Potential Investigation.

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University of Kansas Medical Center.


Impulsive individuals make risky choices, motivated more by immediate reward than potential long-term negative consequences. We used event-related potentials to study the impact of reward and punishment sensitivity in impulsivity on risky decision-making in a two-card choice task in groups of 14 high and 14 low impulsive undergraduates formed by a median split on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale score. The high impulsives had a larger P3 and the low impulsives a smaller P3 to the cards when making a low-risk choice suggesting that the high-risk option was the default choice of the high impulsives and the low-risk choice the default for the low impulsives. The low, but not the high impulsives had a larger error-related negativity following high-risk choice indicating that the low impulsives evaluated the risky choice as a poor decision. The results indicate that high impulsive individuals are biased towards immediate reward during option evaluation but are less sensitive to the negative consequences of their choices.

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