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Iowa Gambling Task (IGT): Twenty Years After

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For a long time, research in the field of decision-making has not paid adequate attention to the effect of “emotion”. However, this situation has been improved over past years (Finucane, M.L., Alhakami, A., Slovic, P., and Johnson, S.M., 2000. The affect heuristic in judgements of risks and benefits. Journal ...

For a long time, research in the field of decision-making has not paid adequate attention to the effect of “emotion”. However, this situation has been improved over past years (Finucane, M.L., Alhakami, A., Slovic, P., and Johnson, S.M., 2000. The affect heuristic in judgements of risks and benefits. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 13, 1-17). One of the theories of great impact that have investigated the influence of emotion on decision-making is the “somatic marker hypothesis (SMH)” proposed by the research team of Antonio Damasio. The “Iowa Gambling Task (IGT)” was then designed as a pivotal instrument to validate the SMH. (Bechara, Damasio, A., Damasio, H., and Anderson, S., 1994. Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition 50, 7-15)
In the past 20 years, the IGT has created a significant impact on the applications in many fields (e.g., neuroeconomics, social neuroscience, affective neuroscience, neuropsychology) and, more importantly, it has enabled a sizable amount of researches get connected on the new theme of “the relevance of emotion in decision-making”. However, given the 20-year development of the IGT, whether the IGT can appropriately validate the truth state of SMH or not has still been in debate. Several previous studies that used the IGT to test the SMH have drawn inconsistent conclusions as compared with the outcomes reported by Damasio’s team (Dunn, B.D., Dalgleish, T., and Lawrence, A.D., 2006. The somatic marker hypothesis: A critical evaluation. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 30, 239-271). Contrasting opinions in the aspects of “implicit and explicit processing of emotion”, “long-term outcome vs. gain-loss frequency”, and others have been proposed. On the other hand, owning to the advances in the brain imaging techniques (such as fMRI, PET, and EEG) as well as the expanding applications of the IGT to different patient populations, a lot more new or unexpected evidence have been collected. These results have deepened our understanding in the mechanism of how IGT works. As a result, this may be a good time to re-evaluate the effects that have been brought by the research of IGT to help elucidate the role of emotion in decision-making.
The purpose of this Research Topic is to welcome researchers interested in the IGT to help clarify the relationships among these factors. This includes discussion of the current development, influence, implications, derivative argument and future prospects of the “IGT and SMH”. The evaluation or re-assessment of analytical methods, model establishment, application of brain imaging technology, and clinical applications in patients and healthy subjects are also welcomed. The aim is to present a new perspective on this topic 20 years after the development of the IGT.


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