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Model-based and model-free decisions in alcohol dependence

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Deserno,  Lorenz
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany;
Max Planck Fellow Group Cognitive and Affective Control of Behavioural Adaptation, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schlagenhauf,  Florian
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany;
Max Planck Fellow Group Cognitive and Affective Control of Behavioural Adaptation, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sebold, M., Deserno, L., Nebe, S., Schad, D. J., Garbusow, M., Hägele, C., et al. (2014). Model-based and model-free decisions in alcohol dependence. Neuropsychobiology, 70(2), 122-131. doi:10.1159/000362840.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-50BB-2
Abstract
Background: Human and animal work suggests a shift from goal-directed to habitual decision-making in addiction. However, the evidence for this in human alcohol dependence is as yet inconclusive. Methods: Twenty-six healthy controls and 26 recently detoxified alcohol-dependent patients underwent behavioral testing with a 2-step task designed to disentangle goal-directed and habitual response patterns. Results: Alcohol-dependent patients showed less evidence of goal-directed choices than healthy controls, particularly after losses. There was no difference in the strength of the habitual component. The group differences did not survive controlling for performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Task. Conclusion: Chronic alcohol use appears to selectively impair goal-directed function, rather than promoting habitual responding. It appears to do so particularly after nonrewards, and this may be mediated by the effects of alcohol on more general cognitive functions subserved by the prefrontal cortex.