Decision Making Impairment: A Shared Vulnerability in Obesity, Gambling Disorder and Substance Use Disorders?

PLoS One. 2016 Sep 30;11(9):e0163901. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163901.

Mallorquí-Bagué N1,2, Fagundo AB1,2, Jimenez-Murcia S1,2,3, de la Torre R2,4, Baños RM2,5, Botella C2,6, Casanueva FF2,7, Crujeiras AB2,7, Fernández-García JC2,8, Fernández-Real JM2,9, Frühbeck G2,10, Granero R2,11, Rodríguez A2,10, Tolosa-Sola I1, Ortega FJ2,9, Tinahones FJ2,8, Alvarez-Moya E1, Ochoa C1, Menchón JM1,3,12, Fernández-Aranda F1,2,3.



Addictions are associated with decision making impairments. The present study explores decision making in Substance use disorder (SUD), Gambling disorder (GD) and Obesity (OB) when assessed by Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and compares them with healthy controls (HC).


For the aims of this study, 591 participants (194 HC, 178 GD, 113 OB, 106 SUD) were assessed according to DSM criteria, completed a sociodemographic interview and conducted the IGT.


SUD, GD and OB present impaired decision making when compared to the HC in the overall task and task learning, however no differences are found for the overall performance in the IGT among the clinical groups. Results also reveal some specific learning across the task patterns within the clinical groups: OB maintains negative scores until the third set where learning starts but with a less extend to HC, SUD presents an early learning followed by a progressive although slow improvement and GD presents more random choices with no learning.


Decision making impairments are present in the studied clinical samples and they display individual differences in the task learning. Results can help understanding the underlying mechanisms of OB and addiction behaviors as well as improve current clinical treatments.

PMID: 27690367

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163901