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PSYC 260 (11)
Julia Kam (11)
Lecture 14

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PSYC 260
Julia Kam

The Neurobiology of Decision Making Emotion and Decision Making • Antonio Damasio and patients with damage in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) o Patients tend to be unproductive in terms of the choices they make in relation to their money  financial losses o Socially inappropriate  loss of friends, family, reputation  Inability to inhibit/control what they are saying o Unable to learn from mistakes  no change in behaviour after negative outcome o Preserved IQ (only the real-life scenarios that patients have trouble with) • Damasio and Iowa Gambling Task o Methods: Participants are presented with 4 virtual decks of cards on a computer screen. They are told that each time they choose a card they will win some game money. Every so often, however, choosing a card causes them to lose some money. The goal of the game is to win as much money as possible. Every card drawn will have a reward or a penalty. Some decks (usually 2) are “bad decks” and other decks (usually 2) are “good decks”, because some will lead to losses over the long run and others will lead to gains. o Controls learned to choose more from the good decks over time  Damasio found that right before choosing the risky bad deck, controls would generate higher anticipatory skin conductance response (SCR), signaling emotional arousal (anxiety/apprehension) o vMPFC patients never learn to choose more from the good decks. Instead, they choose somewhat evenly from the good decks and bad decks.  The anticipatory SCRs of vMPFC patients show no significant difference between the good decks and bad decks. o Conclusions  vMPFC patients e
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