Executive function in pathological gamblers and healthy controls


Executive function (EF) deficits may underlie some of the impulse control problems seen in pathological gambling. Pathological gamblers (PGs, n = 45) and controls (n = 45) were compared on several measures of EF (including measures of response inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility and perseveration, planning and decision-making), as well as memory and intelligence tests to examine whether PGs evidence EF dysfunction. Compared with controls, PGs exhibited specific deficits on measures of planning and decision-making. PGs also exhibited relative deficits on a measure of perseveration, but this deficit was no longer significant after controlling for group differences in intelligence. These results suggest that PGs may experience deficits on specific components of EF.

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