Speed-accuracy tradeoff in decision-making performance among pathological gamblers

Semion Kertzman, Michael Vainder, Tali Vishne, Anat Aizer, Moshe Kotler, Pinhas N. Dannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pathological gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder in the DSM-IV-TR; however, few studies have investigated the relationship between gambling behavior and impulsive decision-making in time-non-limited situations. Methods: The subjects performed the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT). The MFFT investigated the reflection-impulsivity dimension in pathological gamblers (n = 82) and demographically matched healthy subjects (n = 82).Results: Our study demonstrated that pathological gamblers had a significantly higher rate of errors than healthy controls (p = 0.01) but were not different in terms of response time (p = 0.49). We found a similar power of correlation between the number of errors and response time in both pathological gamblers and controls. We may conclude that impaired performance of our pathological gamblers as compared to controls in a situation without time limit pressure cannot be explained by a trade-off of greater speed at the cost of less accuracy. Conclusions: The results of our study showed that pathological gamblers tend to make more errors but do not exhibit quicker responses as compared to the control group. Diminished MFFT performance in pathological gamblers as compared to controls supports findings of previous studies which show that pathological gamblers have impaired decision-making. Further controlled studies with a larger sample size which examine MFFT performance in pathological gamblers are necessary to confirm our results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Impulsivity
  • Matching Familiar Figures Test
  • Pathological gamblers
  • Response time


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