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De invloed van angst op keuzegedrag bij mensen

By A.J.A.E. van de Loo


An essential part of daily functioning is decision-making and an emotion which influences that is anxiety. In humans it has been shown that individuals with a high degree of Trait anxiety (TA) perform poorly on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), a task which measures the capacity to make efficient choices (Miu et al., 2008). Key areas playing a role in decision-making are the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex (Bechara et al., 1997, 1998). Interestingly these areas also play a vital role in anxiety (Kim and Gorman, 2005) which may explain the association. This study is based on the study of Miu et al. (2008) to investigate if comparable results can be obtained. Male subjects were recruited. They filled in the Dutch version of the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), after which the participants completed the IGT. Furthermore cortisol was measured to examine the influence of stress. As a control for general effects on cognition, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) was used. Participants were divided in low, medium and high anxiety groups. It was observed that a high degree of anxiety is associated with less efficient choices in the IGT. However the results of Miu et al. (2008), which showed that low-anxious individuals perform better than high-anxious participants, are not similar to the results of this study. Miu et al. (2008) uses both male and female participants, with a higher number of females. In this study only male participants were used. The difference in results indicates that there might be a gender effect. Males with a low degree of anxiety may show more risk taking behaviour and males with a high degree of anxiety may show more risk avoidance behaviour, which may explain the relatively high number of wrong choices in low and high TA groups. The TA did not seem to have a major influence on the WCST, however a correlation between TA and perserverative errors was found. No increase in cortisol levels was observed during testing which indicates that stress has no influence on the results

Topics: Diergeneeskunde, Anxiety, decision-making, IGT, WCST, males
Year: 2008
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