What Impacts Decision-Making in the Iowa Gambling Task? A Study into Depressive Symptoms, Personality, Affect and Motivation
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Having depressive symptoms can cause individuals to become more risk averse. This increased risk aversion causes individuals to perform more advantageously on a behavioural measure of decision-making - the Iowa Gambling Task. Other variables that are associated with depressive symptoms such as affect and personality have not necessarily been shown to advantageously impact decision-making on the Iowa Gambling Task, which seems rather inconsistent. Furthermore, task motivation, which would be presumed to advantageously impact decision-making, has not been studied in conjunction with the Iowa Gambling Task. The present study aimed to account for these inconsistencies and gaps in the previous literature. The present study thus aimed to test the hypothesis that depressive symptoms would be predictive of enhanced Iowa Gambling Task performance. Given this, the study also aimed to test the hypothesis that negative affect, high neuroticism, high task motivation, and low BAS and high BIS scores, which are measures of personality, would be predictive of enhanced Iowa Gambling Task performance. 80 participants were given measures of depressive symptoms, motivation, affect and personality, as well as the Iowa Gambling Task. The present study found no effects of depressive symptoms, personality, affect and motivation on decision-making in the Iowa Gambling Task, and thus the present study hypotheses were not supported. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed, as are directions for future research in the area.