Autonomic reactivity of hypothesis-testing in decision-making

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Given the results of studies using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), emotion-based sensitivity to an anticipated outcome of one's own behavior has been suggested to be a significant factor in making advantageous decisions. Hypotheses-testing in performing IGT is essential for learning correct rules and elicits autonomic reactivity. In this study, participants were asked to concentrate on hypothesis-testing to learn undisclosed rules in the task which framework was similar to the IGT, rather than maximizing monetary reward. The amplitudes of skin conductance responses (SCRs) prior to card selection and following feedback were attenuated as participants came to accurately comprehend the task rules. The attenuation of SCRs resulted from reduced motivation to continue the hypotheses-testing. Our findings provide some evidence that observed autonomic responses partially reflect emotional reactions associated with the hypothesis-testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept


  • Autonomic response
  • Decision-making
  • Emotion
  • Hypothesis-testing
  • Skin conductance response (scr)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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