Altered adaptive but not veridical decision-making in substance dependent individuals

Antonio J. Verdejo-García, Raquel Vilar-López, Miguel Pérez-García, Kenneth Podell, Elkhonon Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Drug addiction is associated with impaired judgment in unstructured situations in which success depends on self-regulation of behavior according to internal goals (adaptive decision-making). However most executive measures are aimed at assessing decision-making in structured scenarios, in which success is determined by external criteria inherent to the situation (veridical decision-making). The aim of this study was to examine the performance of Substance Abusers (SA, n = 97) and Healthy Comparison participants (HC, n = 81) in two behavioral tasks that mimic the uncertainty inherent in real-life decision-making: the Cognitive Bias Task (CB) and the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) (administered only to SA). A related goal was to study the interdependence between performances on both tasks. We conducted univariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs) to contrast the decision-making performance of both groups; and used correlation analyses to study the relationship between both tasks. SA showed a marked context-independent decision-making strategy on the CB's adaptive condition, but no differences were found on the veridical conditions in a subsample of SA (n = 34) and HC (n = 22). A high percentage of SA (75%) also showed impaired performance on the IGT. Both tasks were only correlated when no impaired participants were selected. Results indicate that SA show abnormal decision-making performance in unstructured situations, but not in veridical situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Addictive behavior
  • Cognitive bias task
  • Decision-making
  • Gambling task
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Altered adaptive but not veridical decision-making in substance dependent individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this