The present research used the Iowa Gambling Task to test the effect of the reward-sensitivity Behavioral Activation System–Reward (BAS-Reward) construct on the ability to distinguish between high- and low-risk decisions. To elucidate the individual differences that influence the decisional processes, making the strategies more or less advantageous, we considered the impact of the BAS motivational system and the frontal left and right cortical activity on subjects’ decisions. More specifically, the lateralization effect, which is related to the increased activation of the left (BAS-Reward-related) hemisphere, was explored by using frequency band analysis. Specifically, behavioral responses (gain/loss options), metacognition, and delta, theta, alpha, and beta band modulation (asymmetry index) were considered. Thirty subjects were divided into high-BAS and low-BAS groups. In comparison with low-BAS, the high-BAS group showed an increased tendency to opt in favor of the immediate reward (losing strategy) instead of the long-term option (winning strategy), and members of this group were more impaired in metacognitive monitoring of their strategies and showed an increased left hemisphere activation when they responded to losing choices. A “reward bias” effect was hypothesized to act for high BAS, based on a left-hemisphere hyperactivation.
- Cortical oscillations
- Gambler behavior