Gambling Addiction Research (DOPACON)


Gambling disorder is a behavioral addiction, characterized by loss of control over gambling and disadvantageous decision making. The confidence one has over decisions, is important for decision taking. When someone is overconfident, this can lead to risky decisions, whereas low confidence can lead to diminished decisiveness.

The level of confidence in decisionmaking has been related to how persons learn and react to changes. Cognitive flexibility (the ability to change behavior when this is required) is often diminished in persons with a gambling disorder. What is not yet known is whether confidence plays a role in gambling disorder, cognitive flexibility, and what the role is of dopaminergic neurotransmission in these processes.

Study aims

In this project, individual differences in confidence estimates, and the relationship with dopamine, and cognitive flexibility is investigated. Results may have implications regarding dopaminergic medication for – subgroups of – persons with a gambling disorder. We will also investigate whether confidence is important in severity of gambling disorder and in cognitive flexibility, and to which extent (dopamine related) confidence and cognitive flexibility are related to treatment outcome.