Adaptive decision making, ecological validity, and the frontal lobes

Elkhonon Goldberg, Kenneth Podell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Existing neuropsychological procedures assess veridical, but not adaptive, decision making, which are based on different mechanisms. This severely curtails the tests' ecological validity, because most real-life decision making situations are adaptive, rather than veridical. Veridical decision making entails finding the correct response intrinsic to external situations and is actor-independent. Adaptive decision making is actor- centered and priority-based. Prefrontal cortex is critical for adaptive decision making. Innovative actor-centered decision-making tasks are required to better understand frontal lobe functions. We have designed a prototype for such procedures, the Cognitive Bias Task (CBT). CBT elicited strong gender and hemispheric differences in the effects of focal frontal lesions, which are more robust than those elicited with veridical tasks, such as the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive decision making, ecological validity, and the frontal lobes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this