Alexander Genauck: Decision-making and its modulation by cues in addictive disorder

BCCN Berlin / GRK 1589 / HU Berlin



This dissertation summarizes three papers concerned with decision-making impairments in a substance-based and a non-substance-based addictive disorder. In Paper I, it was observed that subjects with alcohol use disorder (AD) and subjects with gambling disorder (GD) show similarly reduced loss aversion. Both groups, however, showed different neural correlates of this reduced loss aversion: While AD subjects showed different functional activity in dorsal-lateral-prefrontal cortex compared to healthy controls (HC), GD subjects showed different amygdala-orbital-frontal and amygdala-medial-prefrontal connectivity. Paper II and III investigated whether behavior and neural activity in a loss aversion task is modulated in GD subjects, as has been observed in similar studies in AD subjects. The data showed that GD subjects can be distinguished from HC subjects using a behavioral pattern of increased cue-induced gamble increase when gambling-related cues are presented in the background. On neural level (Paper III), GD subjects could be distinguished from HC subjects by neural correlates of cue-induced changes in gambling behavior in a network of amygdala, nucleus accumbens and orbital-frontal cortex. Since the focus of the studies was GD, an addiction that is independent of substance abuse, the results suggest that reduced loss aversion and increased cue-induced changes in gambling behaviors, two phenomena related to substance-based addictions, are not dependent on a substance of abuse but rather on learned characteristics or even on predisposing traits of addictive disorders.


Additional Information

PhD defense in the research training group GRK 1589, 'Sensory Computation in Neural Systems'.

Organized by

Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinz

Location: Institut für Psychologie, room 3'208, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Rudower Chaussee 18

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