Blunted feedback processing during risky decision making in adolescents with a parental history of substance use disorders

Academic Article


  • Risky decision making, a hallmark phenotype of substance use disorders (SUD), is thought to be associated with deficient feedback processing. Whether these aberrations are present prior to SUD onset or reflect merely a consequence of chronic substance use on the brain remains unclear. The present study investigated whether blunted feedback processing during risky decision making reflects a biological predisposition to SUD. We assessed event-related potentials elicited by positive and negative feedback during performance of a modified version of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) among high-risk adolescents with a parental history of SUD (HR; n = 61) and normal-risk controls (NR; n = 91). HR males made significantly more risky and faster decisions during the BART than did NR controls. Moreover, HR adolescents showed significantly reduced P300 amplitudes in response to both positive and negative feedback as compared to NR controls. These differences were not secondary to prolonged substance use exposure. Results are discussed in terms of feedback-specific processes. Reduced P300 amplitudes in the BART may reflect poor processing of feedback at the level of overall salience, which may keep people from effectively predicting the probability of future gains and losses. Though conclusions are tentative, blunted feedback processing during risky decision making may represent a promising endophenotypic vulnerability marker for SUD. © Cambridge University Press 2013.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Euser AS; Greaves-Lord K; Crowley MJ; Evans BE; Huizink AC; Franken IHA
  • Start Page

  • 1119
  • End Page

  • 1136
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 4 PART 1