Decision-making impairment, as measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), is a consistent finding among individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). We studied how this impairment is influenced by co-morbid antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and conscious knowledge of the task. Three groups were investigated: SUD individuals without co-morbid ASPD (n = 30), SUD individuals with co-morbid ASPD (n = 16), and healthy controls (n = 17). Both SUD and SUD+ASPD participants had poor overall IGT performance. A block-by-block analysis revealed that SUD participants exhibited slow but steady improvement across the IGT, whereas SUD+ASPD participants exhibited initial normal improvement, but dropped off during the last 40 trials. Conscious knowledge of the task was significantly correlated to performance for controls and SUD participants, but not for SUD+ASPD participants. Our findings suggest that decision-making proceeds differently in SUD and SUD+ASPD individuals due to differences in acquisition and application of conscious knowledge.
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2013, Vol 54, Issue 4, p. 292-299