Putting the Iowa gambling task in social and motivational contexts

Abstract

The social and motivational environment is critical in decision-making. The present study aims to investigate the effect of the social and motivational environment on performance and conscious/unconscious decision-making processes in the context of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Sixty-one individuals were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: classic control, solitary, and motivated experimental conditions and completed the IGT. Our results show that compared to the control condition, neither the performance nor explicit knowledge about the advantageous strategy was different in the motivated and solitary conditions. However, the accumulated effect of external motivation and the presence of the researcher significantly improved both performance and explicit knowledge about the winning strategy compared to the solitary situation without motivation. Finally, our results suggest that attentional effort—due to social conduct and motivation—plays an important role in the induction of emotion-based somatic markers. The outcomes are interpreted in the light of the social facilitation literature, the dual process learning model, and the Somatic Marker Hypothesis.

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