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Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
We currently publish four issues per year, which accounts for some 100 articles annually. We admit work from both the basic and applied research fields, and from all areas of Psychology, all manuscripts being anonymously reviewed prior to publication.

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Enhancing emotion-based learning in decision-making under uncertainty

David Alarcón, Josué G. Amián and José Antonio Sánchez-Medina

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Background: The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is widely used to study decision-making differences between several clinical and healthy populations. Unlike the healthy participants, clinical participants have difficulty choosing between advantageous options, which yield long-term benefits, and disadvantageous options, which give high immediate rewards but lead tonegative profits. However, recent studies have found that healthy participants avoid the options with a higher frequency of losses regardless of whether or not they are profitable in the long run. The aim of this study was to control for the confounding effect of the frequency of losses between options to improve the performance of healthy participants on the IGT. Method: Eighty healthy participants were randomly assigned to the original IGT or a modified version of the IGT that diminished the gap in the frequency of losses between options. Results: The participants who used the modified IGT version learned to make better decisions based on long-term profit, as indicated by an earlier ability to discriminate good from bad options, and took less time to make their choices. Conclusions: This research represents an advance in the study of decision making under uncertainty by showing that emotion-based learning is improved by controlling for the loss-frequency bias effect.

Mejora del aprendizaje basado en emociones en la toma de decisiones en ambiente de incertidumbre. Antecedentes: la Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) es ampliamente utilizada para estudiar la toma de decisiones entre poblaciones clínicas y saludables. A diferencia de los participantes sanos, los participantes clínicos tienen dificultades para elegir entre opciones ventajosas, que producen beneficios a largo plazo, y opciones desventajosas, que dan altas recompensas inmediatas, pero conducen a beneficios negativos. Estudios recientes han encontrado que los participantes sanos evitan las opciones con mayor frecuencia de pérdidas, independientemente de si son rentables a largo plazo. El objetivo de este estudio fue controlar el sesgo de la frecuencia de pérdidas entre las opciones, para mejorar el desempeño de los participantes sanos en la IGT. Método: ochenta participantes sanos fueron asignados aleatoriamente a la IGT original o una versión modificada que disminuye la brecha en la frecuencia de pérdidas entre opciones. Resultados: los participantes que usaron la IGT modificada aprendieron a tomar mejores decisiones basadas en el beneficio a largo plazo, discriminando antes  las opciones buenas de las malas, y tardando menos tiempo en realizar elecciones. Conclusiones: esta investigación avanza en el estudio de la toma de decisiones bajo incertidumbre, mostrando que el aprendizaje basado en emociones mejora mediante el control del sesgo de la frecuencia de pérdidas.

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