Volume 6, Issue 4 (Automn 2015 -- 2015)                   BCN 2015, 6(4): 265-270 | Back to browse issues page

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Sohrabi A, M. Smith A, L. West R, Cameron I. An fMRI Study of Risky Decision Making: The Role of Mental Preparation and Conflict. BCN. 2015; 6 (4) :265-270
URL: http://bcn.iums.ac.ir/article-1-528-en.html
1- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.
2- University of Ottawa, Ottawa
3- Carleton University, Ottawa
Introduction: The current study aimed to elucidate the role of preparatory cognitive control in decision making and its neural correlates using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). To this effect, by employing a series of new cognitive tasks, we assessed the role of preparatory cognitive control in monetary (risky) decision making. 
Methods: The participants had to decide between a risky and a safe gamble based on their chance of winning (high or low). In the 2-phase gambling task (similar to Cambridge gambling task), the chance and the gamble were presented at the same time (i.e. in a single phase), but in a new 3-phase gambling task, the chance is presented before the gamble. The tasks ended with a feedback phase. 
Results: In the 3-phase task, holding the chance in memory to guide their decision enabled the participants to have more control on their risk taking behaviors as shown by activation in a network of brain areas involved in the control and conflict, including dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex (dACC), indexed by faster reaction times and better performance in the gambling task, and the temporal lobe, which has a role in holding contextual information. 
Discussion: Holding information in memory to guide decision presumably enables the participants to have more control on their risk taking behaviors. The conflict and uncertainty resulting from this risky decision was indexed by the activation of dACC, known to be activated in conflict and cognitive control.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Cognitive Neuroscience
Received: 2015/05/21 | Accepted: 2015/08/18 | Published: 2015/10/1

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