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Title: Social judgment and risky decision making in Huntington's disease
Author: Paul, Mhorag E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Huntington's Disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder, associated with problems in judgement and decision-making. The extent of these problems, and their association with clinical characteristics has however, only recently been assessed (Stout, Rodawalt, Siemers, 2001). Parallels are often drawn between the behavioural disturbances in Huntington's disease and those observed with damage to the frontal lobes. Indeed an anatomical basis for these similarities does exit because of the connectivity of the basal ganglia and the frontal cortex, within several frontal subcortical circuits (Cummings, 1993). In view of these identified similarities, this study aimed to examine decision-making deficits in individuals with Huntington's disease and asymptomatic disease gene carriers using a laboratory-based simulated gambling task. This task has been used to quantify similar decision-making deficits in ventromedial frontal lobe damaged participants (Bechara, et al., 1994). Judgement deficits were assessed using a theory of mind test, examining the ability to recognise a faux-pas. This test has been used to assess deficits in individuals with damage to the orbito-frontal cortex (Stone, Baron-Cohen, & Knight, 1998). For this study, 14 symptomatic, 10 asymptomatic, and 13 controls completed the simulated gambling task, the faux-pas task, and a neuropsychological test battery. It was hypothesised that both symptomatic and asymptomatic Huntington's disease participants would demonstrate deficits in comparison to controls on the gambling task and the faux-pas task. Results are discussed with reference to previous research findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available