Contribution of different regions of the prefrontal cortex and lesion laterality to deficit of decision-making on the Iowa Gambling Task

Abstract

Few studies have examined the contribution of different sub-regions of the prefrontal cortex and lesion laterality to decision-making abilities. In addition, there are inconsistent findings about the role of ventromedial and dorsolateral lesions in decision-making deficit. In this study, decision-making processes are investigated following different damaged areas of the prefrontal cortex. We paid particular attention to the contribution of laterality, lesion location and lesion volume in decision-making deficit. Twenty-seven patients with discrete ventromedial lesions, dorsolateral lesions or extended-frontal lesions were compared with normal subjects on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Our results showed that all frontal subgroups were impaired on the IGT in comparison with normal subjects. We noted also that IGT performance did not vary systematically based on lesion laterality or location. More precisely, our lesion analysis revealed that decision-making processes depend on a large cerebral network, including both ventromedial and dorsolateral areas of the prefrontal cortex. Consistent with past findings, our results support the claim that IGT deficit is not solitarily associated with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions.

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