Pupil Dilation and Cognitive Reflection as Predictors of Performance on the Iowa Gambling Task


Risky decisions involve cognitive and emotional factors. As the primary test for the Somatic Marker Hypothesis (SMH), the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) examines these factors. Skin conductance shows anticipatory physiological responses on the IGT supporting SMH. Pupil dilation offers an alternative physiological marker. Predictive effects of anticipatory pupillary responses to positive and negative decks on IGT performance were examined in an extended IGT. The extended Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) examined the relationship between reflective thinking and IGT performance. Data demonstrated correlations between reflective thinking and performance from the second block onwards and that task learning continued into the additional blocks - performance was not optimized even in the final block. Regression analysis showed both anticipatory pupil dilation for disadvantageous and advantageous decks, and reflective thinking were strong predictors of IGT performance. While both emotional and reflective processes are implicated in IGT performance, analytic cognition is more important than traditionally acknowledged.

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