Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



An investigation of decision making in anorexia nervosa using the Iowa Gambling Task and skin conductance measurements


KATE  TCHANTURIA  a1 c1 , PEI-CHI  LIAO  a1 , RUDOLF  UHER  a1 , NATALIA  LAWRENCE  a1 , JANET  TREASURE  a1 and IAIN C.  CAMPBELL  a1
a1 Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, United Kingdom

Article author query
tchanturia k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
liao p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
uher r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lawrence n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
treasure j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
campbell ic   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The objective of this study is to determine (a) if decision making ability is impaired in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and in people with good recovery from AN and (b) whether any impairment in decision making is associated with alterations in skin conductance responses (SCR). Patients with AN (n = 29), healthy controls comparable in age and IQ (HC, n = 29), and women long term recovered from AN (n = 14), completed the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) while their SCR were measured. AN patients performed poorly in the IGT compared to the HC and to the recovered AN participants. AN patients had decreased anticipatory SCR prior to choosing cards and reduced SCR after losses compared to HC. IGT performance and the SCR of recovered AN participants did not differ from the HC. Decision making ability is impaired in AN. It is associated with a significantly attenuated SCR. Neither of these features are found in recovered AN. The association between impaired decision making ability and a decreased autonomic response is consistent with the predictions of the Somatic Marker Hypothesis. (JINS, 2007, 13, 635–641.)

(Received February 18 2006)
(Revised February 3 2007)
(Accepted February 5 2007)


Key Words: Eating disorders; Recovery; Neuropsychology; Biological markers; Iowa Gambling Task; Galvanic skin response.

Correspondence:
c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Kate Tchanturia, PO59 Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail: k.tchanturia@iop.kcl.ac.uk