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Altered economic decision-making in abstinent heroin addicts: Evidence from the ultimatum game.
Neurosci Lett. 2016 08 03; 627:148-54.NL

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The development and persistence of drug addiction has been suggested to involve decision-making deficits. The Ultimatum Game is a widely used economic decision-making paradigm that illustrates the tension between financial self-interest and fairness motives. The behavior of responders in the Ultimatum Game has been associated with emotional reactions and cognitive control abilities, both of which are dysregulated in drug addicts. In this study, we investigated whether this economic decision-making process that involves considerations of social norms is affected by heroin addiction.

METHODS

Heroin addicts (n=17) and demographically matched healthy control subjects (n=18) were recruited to play the part of responders in the Ultimatum Game, during which they decided to accept or reject the monetary offers proposed by strangers. The offers were manipulated by varying the stake sizes and fairness scales. The rejection rates of all of the offer categories, response times, fairness judgments, and impulsivity were compared between heroin addicts and healthy controls.

RESULTS

Compared with healthy subjects, the rejection rates of most unfair offers in the Ultimatum Game were significantly higher under low-offer-size conditions among heroin addicts. In contrast, the most unfair offers were more likely to be accepted by heroin addicts in the high-offer-size condition than by healthy subjects. The ratings of unfairness were equal in both conditions although the rejection rates were different. Heroin addicts had higher scores on BIS attentional/cognitive impulsivity and non-planning impulsivity, but not in motor impulsivity. Rejection rates to most unfair offers under low-offer-size conditions significantly correlated with score on BIS non-planning impulsivity and total score of impulsivity.

CONCLUSIONS

Heroin addicts differentially responded under different stake-level conditions in the Ultimatum Game, with emotional impulses in low-offer-size conditions and selfish motives in the face of high monetary reward. These findings indicate that Ultimatum Game may be associated with heroin addiction and provide a productive new target for enhancing treatment for heroin addiction.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Beijing Shijitan Hospital, the 9th Clinical Medical College of Peking University, Beijing 100038, China.Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China. Electronic address: zgywyls2006@bjmu.edu.cn.Beijing Shijitan Hospital, the 9th Clinical Medical College of Peking University, Beijing 100038, China.Beijing Shijitan Hospital, the 9th Clinical Medical College of Peking University, Beijing 100038, China.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

27264486

Citation

Hou, Yu, et al. "Altered Economic Decision-making in Abstinent Heroin Addicts: Evidence From the Ultimatum Game." Neuroscience Letters, vol. 627, 2016, pp. 148-54.
Hou Y, Zhao L, Yao Q, et al. Altered economic decision-making in abstinent heroin addicts: Evidence from the ultimatum game. Neurosci Lett. 2016;627:148-54.
Hou, Y., Zhao, L., Yao, Q., & Ding, L. (2016). Altered economic decision-making in abstinent heroin addicts: Evidence from the ultimatum game. Neuroscience Letters, 627, 148-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2016.06.002
Hou Y, et al. Altered Economic Decision-making in Abstinent Heroin Addicts: Evidence From the Ultimatum Game. Neurosci Lett. 2016 08 3;627:148-54. PubMed PMID: 27264486.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Altered economic decision-making in abstinent heroin addicts: Evidence from the ultimatum game. AU - Hou,Yu, AU - Zhao,Liyan, AU - Yao,Qi, AU - Ding,Lixiang, Y1 - 2016/06/02/ PY - 2016/01/13/received PY - 2016/05/18/revised PY - 2016/06/01/accepted PY - 2016/6/7/entrez PY - 2016/6/7/pubmed PY - 2017/6/14/medline KW - Economic decision-making KW - Emotion KW - Heroin addiction KW - Impulsivity KW - Self-interest KW - Ultimatum game SP - 148 EP - 54 JF - Neuroscience letters JO - Neurosci Lett VL - 627 N2 - BACKGROUND: The development and persistence of drug addiction has been suggested to involve decision-making deficits. The Ultimatum Game is a widely used economic decision-making paradigm that illustrates the tension between financial self-interest and fairness motives. The behavior of responders in the Ultimatum Game has been associated with emotional reactions and cognitive control abilities, both of which are dysregulated in drug addicts. In this study, we investigated whether this economic decision-making process that involves considerations of social norms is affected by heroin addiction. METHODS: Heroin addicts (n=17) and demographically matched healthy control subjects (n=18) were recruited to play the part of responders in the Ultimatum Game, during which they decided to accept or reject the monetary offers proposed by strangers. The offers were manipulated by varying the stake sizes and fairness scales. The rejection rates of all of the offer categories, response times, fairness judgments, and impulsivity were compared between heroin addicts and healthy controls. RESULTS: Compared with healthy subjects, the rejection rates of most unfair offers in the Ultimatum Game were significantly higher under low-offer-size conditions among heroin addicts. In contrast, the most unfair offers were more likely to be accepted by heroin addicts in the high-offer-size condition than by healthy subjects. The ratings of unfairness were equal in both conditions although the rejection rates were different. Heroin addicts had higher scores on BIS attentional/cognitive impulsivity and non-planning impulsivity, but not in motor impulsivity. Rejection rates to most unfair offers under low-offer-size conditions significantly correlated with score on BIS non-planning impulsivity and total score of impulsivity. CONCLUSIONS: Heroin addicts differentially responded under different stake-level conditions in the Ultimatum Game, with emotional impulses in low-offer-size conditions and selfish motives in the face of high monetary reward. These findings indicate that Ultimatum Game may be associated with heroin addiction and provide a productive new target for enhancing treatment for heroin addiction. SN - 1872-7972 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/27264486/Altered_economic_decision_making_in_abstinent_heroin_addicts:_Evidence_from_the_ultimatum_game_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0304-3940(16)30401-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -