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The Impact of Executive Functions and Emotional Intelligence on Iowa Gambling Task Performance: Focus on Right Frontal Lobe Damage


  • Oksana O. Zinchenko

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Elena V. Enikolopova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


Decision-making under uncertainty in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) has been intensively studied over the last twenty years regarding both “hot” and “cold” components. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is a key region involved in processing somatic marker information, though recent findings suggest that dorsolateral regions are also important. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is also known as a substrate of executive functions—the cold component of decision-making. However, there is contradictory evidence about the role of executive functions, as well as the hot component of decision-making—emotional intelligence. This study seeks to address this inconsistency. Previous findings suggest that patients with right frontal lobe lesions should find decision-making more problematic in IGT. This article investigates the importance of emotional intelligence as the hot and executive functions as the cold components of decision-making in IGT. We obtained data from patients with right frontal lobe tumours and healthy controls who undertook IGT, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and D-KEFS Colour-Word Interference Test. The current findings imply that performance in IGT is highly correlated with several parameters of set-shifting in the WCST: correct answers, conceptual level responses and non-perseverative errors. However, no correlation is found with cognitive inhibition parameters in the Colour-Word Interference Test, while an interaction between the emotional intelligence parameters and the performance on IGT is low

Suggested Citation

  • Oksana O. Zinchenko & Elena V. Enikolopova, 2016. "The Impact of Executive Functions and Emotional Intelligence on Iowa Gambling Task Performance: Focus on Right Frontal Lobe Damage," HSE Working papers WP BRP 63/PSY/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:63psy2016

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    Iowa Gambling Task; right frontal lobe tumour; tumour patients; executive functions; lateral prefrontal cortex; emotional intelligence.;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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