Objectives:The relationship between substance dependence and poor decision making has received much attention in recent years. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that alcohol dependent subjects would demonstrate a more perseverative decision-making pattern, during ambiguous situations.Methods:15 alcohol dependent patients and 15 healthy normal controls performed a novel computerized decision-making task, which presented figures of coins. The subjects were instructed to guess whether the total number of coins was 'odd' or 'even'. Besides these two response, one could select a third alternative ? 'pass' ? in case the chances were assumed to be low.Results:There was significant difference in performance between the two groups (F=4.339, p=0.008). The control group gained 15.4±14.4 points, whereas the alcohol dependent group lost 0.6±5.3 points. The normal control group demonstrated a tendency to make more pass responses as the trials were repeated. In contrast, the alcohol dependent group didn't make use of the alternative, but kept challenging between 'odd' and 'even', although they sensed that the chances were low.Conclusion:The alcohol dependent patients demonstrated a more rigid and perseverative response pattern and showed deficits in making use of compromise alternatives. (J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 2007;46(5):499-506)
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