Pathological gambling and impulsivity: Comparison of the different measures in the behavior inhibition tasks


Impulsive behavior and underlying brain processes are hypothesized to be central in the development and maintenance of pathological gambling. Inhibition ability can be differentially impaired in pathological gamblers (PGs). The goal of this cross-sectional study is to compare common inhibition measures in the discrimination of PG and healthy controls (HC). PG (N = 51) and HC (N = 51) performed the “response inhibition” (the Go/No-go), the “interference inhibition” (the Stroop), and the “reflective inhibition” (the Matching Familiar Figures, MFFT) tasks. Augmented total interference response time in the Stroop task (η2 = 0.054), high number of commission errors (η2 = 0.053) in the Go/No-go task, and total number of errors in the MFFT (η2 = 0.05) can discriminate PGs. Slow response time in the Go/No-go task (η2 = 0.038) has borderline ability, but the number of errors in the incongruent condition, total interference in terms of error rate, number of omissions in the Go/No-go task, and first response time in the MFFT could not differentiate between the PG and the HC. There were no significant correlations between inhibition measures. Most inhibition measures are not relevant to gambling. PGs do not express rash impulsive behavior such as quick answer without thinking. In contrary,the inhibition impairment was related to slow-inaccurate performance.

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