Research on the neural correlates of decision making in gambling tasks may be informative for understanding problem gambling. The present study explored confidence and overconfidence using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure brain activity during a judgment task. Nineteen undergraduates who self-identified as frequent gamblers (average age 19.7 years; 5 females, 14 males) participated in this study. Participants first completed the DIGS (Winters, Specker & Stinchfield, 2002), a measure of gambling pathology. They then engaged in a behavioral task of confidence assessment, wherein they answered two-alternative trivia questions and estimated the probability that each answer was correct. In a subsequent MEG task, they viewed the questions and a target answer, and indicated with a button press whether the target matched the correct answer. Confidence was directly related to activity in the right prefrontal cortex. Matching and mismatching targets were associated with activity in the medial occipital cortex and left supramarginal gyrus, respectively. An interaction of pathology and match/mismatch was observed in the right inferior occipital-temporal junction region, showing more activity following a mismatch in non-problem gamblers, but not in problem gamblers. Implications of the results for understanding of top-down modulation and attentional systems are discussed in relation to gambling behavior.
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Acknowledgements This research was supported by Grants from the National Institute for Mental Health to ASG (MH067827) and BAC (MH57886), and by a Neuroimaging Project Pilot Grant from the University of Georgia Research Foundation.
- Cognitive neuroscience
- Decision making