In this study the authors compared the performance of abstinent drug abusers (n = 21) and nonuser control participants (n = 20) in neurocognitive and emotional functions by use of the Rogers Decision Making Task, Gambling Task, Emotional Stroop, impulsivity continuous performance task (CPT), and vigilance CPT. Skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR) monitoring was synchronized with task performance. Groups showed similar performance for vigilance, impulsivity, and emotional interference; however, drug abusers showed stronger SC responses. Drug abusers performed more poorly on the Gambling and Rogers Decision Making Tasks. When making risky decisions, drug abusers showed significantly less increase in SC activity than controls and exhibited lower HRs throughout performance on all tasks. In conclusion, complex tasks involving decision making, sensitivity to consequences, and emotional regulation discriminated between drug abusers and controls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)