Risk-prone individuals prefer the wrong options on a rat version of the Iowa Gambling Task.

Marion Rivalan, Serge H. Ahmed, Françoise Dellu-Hagedorn
Biological Psychiatry. 2009-10-01; 66(8): 743-749
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.04.008

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1. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Oct 15;66(8):743-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.04.008.
Epub 2009 May 31.

Risk-prone individuals prefer the wrong options on a rat version of the Iowa
Gambling Task.

Rivalan M(1), Ahmed SH, Dellu-Hagedorn F.

Author information:
(1)CNRS UMR 5227, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux Cedex, France.

BACKGROUND: Decision making in complex and conflicting situations, as measured in
the widely used Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), can be profoundly impaired in
psychiatric disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, drug
addiction, and also in healthy individuals for whom immediate gratification
prevails over long-term gain. The cognitive processes underlying these deficits
are poorly understood, in part due to a lack of suitable animal models assessing
complex decision making with good construct validity.
METHODS: We developed a rat gambling task analogous to the IGT that tracks, for
the first time, the ongoing decision process within a single session in an
operant cage. Rats could choose between various options. Disadvantageous options,
as opposed to advantageous ones, offered bigger immediate food reward but were
followed by longer, unpredictable penalties (time-out).
RESULTS: The majority of rats can evaluate and deduce favorable options more or
less rapidly according to task complexity, whereas others systematically choose
disadvantageously. These interindividual differences are stable over time and do
not depend on task difficulty or on the level of food restriction. We find that
poor decision making does not result from a failure to acquire relevant
information but from hypersensitivity to reward and higher risk taking in
anxiogenic situations.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that rats, as well as human poor performers,
share similar traits to those observed in decision-making related psychiatric
disorders. These traits could constitute risk factors of developing such
disorders. The rapid identification of poor decision makers using the rat
gambling task should promote the discovery of the specific brain dysfunctions
that cause maladapted decision making.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.04.008
PMID: 19482266 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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