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Emotion-based Learning

For more than a decade, and together with a long list of collaborators, I have had an interest in emotion-based learning - the phomenon of acquiring knowledge about the world based on emotional experience, sometimes referred to as a gut-feeling or intuitive hunch. The principal tool of these investigations has been the Iowa Gambling Task - a multi-deck card game with ambiguous and complex contingency relationships. In a series of papers we investigated several aspects of the phenomenon, classified below under manipulation of 'Methods', 'Psychological variables' and 'Populations'.


Issues of method

A decade ago there were a number of variables related to Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) performance that were poorly understood. In a series of papers we manipulated real vs facsimile rewards, number of decks, time constraints, and the possibility of a set-shifting variant. The most recent variant (the BLINK task) is a radical modification of response style in the IGT which allows for extremely rapid performance of the task - roughly 25 faster than the traditional IGT.

Bowman, C.H. & Turnbull, O.H. (2004). Emotion-based learning on a simplified card task: The Iowa and Bangor Gambling Tasks. Brain & Cognition, 55: 277-282.

Bowman, C.H. & Turnbull, O.H. (2003). Real versus facsimile reinforcers on the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain & Cognition, 53: 207-210.

Bowman, C.H., Evans, C.E.Y., & Turnbull, O.H. (2005). Artificial time-constraints on the Iowa Gambling Task: The effects on behavioural performance and subjective experience. Brain and Cognition, 57: 21-25.

Turnbull, O.H., Evans, C.E.Y., Kemish, K., Park, S. & Bowman, C.H. (2006). A novel ‘set-shifting’ modification of the Iowa Gambling Task: Flexible emotion-based learning in schizophrenia. Neuropsychology, 20: 290-298.

Cella M., Dymond, S., Cooper A. & Turnbull, O. (2007). Effects of decision-phase time constraints on emotion-based learning in the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain & Cognition, 64: 164-169

Dymond, S., Cella, M, Cooper, A. & Turnbull, O.H. (2010) Emotion-based learning on the contingency-shifting variant Iowa Gambling Task. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 32(3):  239-248.

Peatfield, N.A., Turnbull, O.H., Parkinson, J. & Intriligator, J. (2011). Quick as a BLINK: An ultra-rapid analogue of Iowa Gambling Task decision-making. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 1-13.


Manipulating or measuring psychological variables

In a series of studies we manipulated a number of psychological variables that are of interest in relation to emotion-based learning. These include the 'directness' of the reward, and the possible roles for education, working memory, empathy, and the extent of affective bias. In the context of a literature interested in the extent of subjective awareness (how much of intuition is 'implicit'?), we studied the subjective report of participants (including those with psychiatric disorders) on the IGT.

Turnbull, O.H., Berry, H. & Bowman, C.H. (2003). Direct versus indirect emotional consequences on the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain & Cognition, 53: 389-392

Evans, C.E.Y., Kemish, K. & Turnbull, O.H. (2004). Paradoxical effects of education on the Iowa Gambing Task. Brain & Cognition, 54: 240-244.

Evans, C.E.Y., Bowman, C.H. & Turnbull, O.H. (2005). Subjective awareness on the Iowa Gambling Task: The key role of emotional experience in schizophrenia. Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 27: 656-664.

Turnbull, O.H., Evans, C.E.Y., Bunce, A., Carzolio, B. & O’Connor, J. (2005). Emotion-based learning and central executive resources: An investigation of intuition and the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain and Cognition, 57: 244-247.

Turnbull, O.H., Worsey, R. & Bowman, C.H. (2007). Emotion and intuition: Does schadenfreude make interns poor learners? Philoctetes, 1: 5-43.

Fry, J, Greenop, J. K., Turnbull, O. & Bowman, C. (2009). The effect of education and gender on emotion-based learning. South African Journal of Psychology, 39: 122-132

Davies, J. & Turnbull, O.H. (2011). Affective bias in complex decision-making: Modulating sensitivity to aversive feedback. Motivation and Emotion, 35(2): 235-248.


Emotion-based learning in various populations

Over the years, we have investigated emotion-based learning in a number of populations - especially in schizophrenia and schizotypy, and in neurological patients with amnesia (see also the section dedicated to amnesia)

Turnbull, O.H. & Evans, C.E.Y. (2006). Preserved complex emotion-based learning in amnesia. Neuropsychologia, 44: 300-306.

Bowman, C. & Turnbull, O.H. (2009). Schizotypy and flexible learning: A pre-requisite of creativity. Philoctetes, 2: 5-30

Evans-Roberts, C.E.Y. & Turnbull, O.H. (2011). Remembering relationships: Preserved emotion-based learning in Alzheimer’s disease. Experimental Aging Research, 37(1): 1-16.

Cella, M., Dymond, S., Cooper, A. & Turnbull, O.H. (2012). Cognitive decision modelling of emotion-based learning in schizophrenia: The role of awareness. Psychiatry Research, 196: 15-19


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