Attenuated Directed Exploration during Reinforcement Learning in Gambling Disorder
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Compulsive gamblers are less likely to explore new, untested strategies than people who don’t suffer from gambling disorder.
When selecting a restaurant or holiday location, a person can choose a tried and tested one or they can take a risk and try a new one. While the first strategy is a safe bet, it limits the ability to make new discoveries.
Now, three researchers at Universität Hamburg have compared the strategies employed by 23 habitual gamblers with 23 control subjects when presented with four options involving varying levels of risk in the so-called four-armed bandit task. They found that compulsive gamblers were more likely to stick with proven options during the experiment than the control subjects.
The researchers suspect that this difference in behaviour is related to the neurotransmitter dopamine.
- Journal of Neuroscience 41, 2512–2522 (2021). doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1607-20.2021
|University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), UHH, Germany||0.61|
|University of Cologne (UoC), Germany||0.17|
|University of Paris, France||0.11|
|GHU Paris Psychiatry and Neurosciences, France||0.11|