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Modeling maladaptive decision-making in a rat version of the Iowa Gambling Task

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventEdinburgh Neuroscience Day 2011 - Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Queen Street Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Mar 201116 Mar 2011


ConferenceEdinburgh Neuroscience Day 2011
CountryUnited Kingdom


Deficits in decision-making have been repeatedly observed in various psychiatric disorders. Such deficits are often assessed using the Iowa Gambling task (IGT) [1]. This task has been adapted to use with rodents and named the Rat Gambling Task (RGT). It is found that a third of healthy rats perform poorly in the RGT. These rats were also tested in other tasks to measure behavioral traits such as sensitivity to reward, cognitive inflexibility and risk seeking. Interestingly, poor decision makers were found to always score highly for a combination of these traits. To explore how the behavioral traits described above influence learning and decision-making, we modeled learning and decision-making in the RGT using the TD-learning algorithm [3]. The behavioral traits were added to the classical TD-learning algorithm, and influence the learning rate or the perception of rewards by the agent. Parameters of the model were extracted for each rat by fitting their performance to the model. We found that the model could account for the performances of good and poor decision-makers. Additionally, the parameters defining the behavioral traits extracted from the model correlated significantly with those measured experimentally. The model was also able to predict the inflexibility of poor decision makers during reversal conditions. Our work supports the hypothesis that a combination of high scores for risk and cognitive inflexibility leads to poor decision-making. According to the model, behavioral traits affect learning by altering the perception of the environment. This results in poor performances that seem optimal to the rats according to their inaccurate world representation.


Edinburgh Neuroscience Day 2011


Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Event: Conference

ID: 14792703