Neurophysiological frontal brain dysfunction, reward-sensitivity and sense of inefficacy in gambling behaviour

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Introduction: The awareness of being involved and causally determinant in action is a main constituent of the sense of our behavioural efficacy, and the ability to self-attribute the origin and the consequence of an action to ourselves is important for the understanding of self in relation to action. Disruption of the sense of being effective and causally determinant in performing an action was explored in the present research by considering the subjective responses in pathological gamblers and control subjects. Indeed it was supposed that the sense of inefficacy may conditionate gamblers behavior and engage them to go on with their dysfunctional behaviour of compulsive games. Secondly, the relationship between BIS/BAS system, frontal EEG modulation (theta band) and gambling attitude were considered as explicative factors that may integrate the sense of inefficacy. Method: EEG were recorded from fifteen pathological gamblers and twenty control subjects when they were submitted to IOWA gambling task. In addition, subjective sensitivity to the external cues was monitored by BIS (Behavioural Inhibition System) and BAS (Behavioural Activation System, especially about the Reward subscale) measures, as well as behaviour identification process was tested by BIF (Behavior Identification Form). Frontal theta frequency band oscillations (ERD) and behavioural measures (BIS/BAS; BIF) were recorded during IOWA performing for the two groups. Results: Based on a set of ANOVAs and correlational analysis (Pearson coefficient) an increased theta desynchronization (band amplitude reduction), increased Reward-sensitivity and reduced BIF was found in pathological gamblers in comparison with controls. Specifically, they experienced less self-monitoring behaviour and showed decreased frontal theta power during more risk choices than conservative choices of the game. Moreover, a similar profile to that revealed by clinical subgroups was found for a sub-category of control subjects who showed an increased risk-seeking behaviour (more gambler attitude during IOWA). Conclusions: We supposed that frontal oscillations desynchronization, integrated with Reward-sensitivity and the increased sense of inefficacy, may modulate the gambling attitude, pointing out the interrelation between neurophysiological correlates (frontal dysfunction), trait personality components (Reward), and self-monitoring mechanisms (BIF) of our own behavior. They may be considered as predictive factors of gambling attitude for clinical condition as well as risk factor for sub-clinical condition.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteProceedings of the 3rd International Congress on Neurobiology, Psychopharmacology & Treatment Guidance
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013
Evento3rd International Congress on Neurobiology, Psychopharmacology & Treatment Guidance - ICNP2013 - Thessaloniki
Durata: 30 mag 20132 giu 2013


Convegno3rd International Congress on Neurobiology, Psychopharmacology & Treatment Guidance - ICNP2013


  • Frontal dysfunction
  • Gambling
  • Reward-sensitivity
  • Sense of inefficacy


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