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Home > Individual differences in learning from probabilistic reward and punishment predicts smoking status.

Rai, Laura A and O'Halloran, Laura and Jollans, Lee and Vahey, Nigel and O'Brolchain, Conall and Whelan, Robert (2018) Individual differences in learning from probabilistic reward and punishment predicts smoking status. Addictive Behaviors , 88 , pp. 73-76.

INTRODUCTION: The ability to update reward and punishment contingencies is a fundamental aspect of effective decision-making, requiring the ability to successfully adapt to the changing demands of one's environment. In the case of nicotine addiction, research has predominantly focused on reward- and punishment-based learning processes among current smokers relative to non-smokers, whereas less is known about these processes in former smokers.

METHODS: In a total sample of 105 students, we used the Probabilistic Selection Task to examine differences in reinforcement learning among 41 current smokers, 29 ex-smokers, and 35 non-smokers. The PST was comprised of a training and test phase that allowed for the comparison of learning from positive versus negative feedback.

RESULTS: The test phase of the Probabilistic Selection Task significantly predicted smoking status. Current and non-smokers were classified with moderate accuracy, whereas ex-smokers were typically misclassified as smokers. Lower rates of learning from rewards were associated with an increased likelihood of being a smoker or an ex-smoker compared with being a non-smoker. Higher rates of learning from punishment were associated with an increased likelihood of being a smoker relative to non-smoker. However, learning from punishment did not predict ex-smoker status.

CONCLUSIONS: Current smokers and ex-smokers were less likely to learn from rewards, supporting the hypothesis that deficient reward processing is a feature of chronic addiction. In addition, current smokers were more sensitive to punishment than ex-smokers, contradicting some recent findings.


Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Date
2018
Page Range
pp. 73-76
Publisher
Elsevier Science
Volume
88
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