Executive function in pathological gamblers and healthy controls

J Gambl Stud. 2012 Mar;28(1):89-103. doi: 10.1007/s10899-010-9237-6.


Executive function (EF) deficits may underlie some of the impulse control problems seen in pathological gambling. Pathological gamblers (PGs, n = 45) and controls (n = 45) were compared on several measures of EF (including measures of response inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility and perseveration, planning and decision-making), as well as memory and intelligence tests to examine whether PGs evidence EF dysfunction. Compared with controls, PGs exhibited specific deficits on measures of planning and decision-making. PGs also exhibited relative deficits on a measure of perseveration, but this deficit was no longer significant after controlling for group differences in intelligence. These results suggest that PGs may experience deficits on specific components of EF.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Decision Making*
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Reference Values