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See detailEnhanced cardiac perception predicts impaired performance in the Iowa Gambling Task in patients with panic disorder
Wölk, Julian; Sütterlin, Stefan UL; Koch, Stefan et al

in Brain and Behavior (2014), 4(2), 238-246

Objective: Somatic marker theory predicts that somatic cues serve intuitive decision- making; however, cardiovascular symptoms are threat cues for patients with panic disorder (PD). Therefore, enhanced ... [more ▼]

Objective: Somatic marker theory predicts that somatic cues serve intuitive decision- making; however, cardiovascular symptoms are threat cues for patients with panic disorder (PD). Therefore, enhanced cardiac perception may aid intuitive decision-making only in healthy individuals, but impair intuitive decision-making in PD patients. Methods: PD patients and age- and sex-matched volunteers without a psychiatric diagnosis (n = 17, respectively) completed the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) as a measure of intuitive decision-making. Inter-individual differences in cardiac perception were assessed with a common mental tracking task. Results: In line with our hypothesis, we found a pattern of opposing associations (Fisher’s Z=1.78, p=.04) of high cardiac perception with improved IGT-performance in matched control-participants (r = .36, n = 14) but impaired IGT-performance in PD patients (r = -.38, n = 13). Conclusion: Interoceptive skills, typically assumed to aid intuitive decision-making, can have the opposite effect in PD patients who experience interoceptive cues as threatening, and tend to avoid them. This may explain why PD patients frequently have problems with decision-making in everyday life. Screening of cardiac perception may help identifying patients who benefit from specifically tailored interventions. [less ▲]

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