Deficits in Decision-Making and reversal learning in college students who participate in Binge drinking

Author(s): Ji-Yeon Yoo, Myung-Sun Kim


We investigated deficits in decision-making and reversal learning, and the relationship between them in college students who engaged in binge drinking.


In total, 30 students involved in binge drinking and 31 non-binge drinking participated. Binge drinking was defined on the basis of the quantity, frequency and speed of alcohol consumption. Decision-making and reversal learning were measured using the Iowa gambling task (IGT) and a reversal-learning task, respectively.


The binge drinking group obtained significantly lower total net scores on the IGT versus the non-binge drinking group. Additionally, the binge drinking group obtained significantly lower block net scores in the third and fourth blocks of the IGT, and selected cards from deck B (disadvantageous) more frequently than did the non-binge drinking group. In the reversal-learning task, the binge drinking group had significantly lower accuracy than the non-binge drinking group in the reversal-learning stage but not in the contingency-learning stage. Moreover, associations between performance on the IGT and the reversal-learning task were observed in the binge drinking group but not in the non-binge drinking.


These results indicate that college students participating in BD had impairments in decision-making and reversal learning. Difficulties with reversing previously learned outcomes might lead to repetition of choices that are no longer advantageous.

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