Decision making among HIV+ drug using men who have sex with men: A preliminary report from the Chicago Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study

Eileen M Martin, Samantha DeHaan, Jasmin Vassileva, Raul Gonzalez, Joshua Weller, Antoine Bechara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


HIV+ substance-dependent individuals (SDIs) make significantly poorer decisions than HIV- SDIs, but the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying this impairment have not been identified. We administered the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), a measure of decision making under uncertain risk, and the Cups Task, a measure of decision making under specified risk, to a group of 56 HIV+ and 23 HIV- men who have sex with men (MSMs) with a history of substance dependence enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. The IGT provides no explicit information regarding the contingencies for each possible choice, and the probability of each outcome remains ambiguous at least for the early trials; in contrast, the Cups Task provides explicit information about the probability of each outcome. The HIV+ group made significantly poorer decisions on the IGT than the HIV- group. Cups Task performance did not differ significantly between HIV- and HIV+ groups. Exploratory analyses of the IGT data suggested that HIV+ subjects tended to perform more poorly during the early learning phase when uncertainty about specific outcomes was greatest. Additionally, performance on the final two trial blocks was significantly correlated with Stroop Interference scores, suggesting that IGT performance is driven increasingly by executive control during the later portion of the task. Potential cognitive mechanisms to be explored in later studies are discussed, including impairment in implicit learning processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-83
JournalNeuropsychology, development, and cognition: Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Chicago
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Decision Making
  • Gambling/psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity/epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male/psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests/statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk-Taking
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
  • Verbal Learning


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