Iowa Gambling Tasks

Evaluate your decision-making and risk-assessment abilities with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Download a free PDF here and start your journey.

Use Template Now

What is an Iowa Gambling Task?

The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is a psychological test designed to evaluate decision-making processes, risk-taking behaviors, and emotional factors in individuals by replicating real-life uncertain circumstances of outcomes, rewards, and losses.

Developed in 1994 by Bechara and colleagues, it initially aimed to understand the roles of emotion and somatic body markers in the decision-making of individuals with prefrontal cortex damage. It was designed with two main objectives. First, investigate the negative effects of neural and cognitive activity on making decisions. Second, examine the extent of functional impairment of the prefrontal cortex, which alters cognitive processes related to making rational decisions.

is presented as a card game with four decks of cards. Participants are instructed to select cards from these decks and reminded that each choice could result in monetary gain or loss. The decks have varied probabilities of yielding immediate and long-term gains or losses. The process of selecting cards is repeated, expecting the participants to learn from their previous experiences. Learning is understood to have occurred when participants start to gravitate toward decks that produce higher overall gains while avoiding those that lead to significant losses.

Since its development in the 1990s, the Iowa Gambling Task quickly gained popularity in different fields of psychology and has been extensively used to study the decision-making and risk-assessment abilities of different populations. Due to its innovative approach, it continues to have lasting and valuable impacts in different fields of psychology and relevant applied settings.

Printable Iowa Gambling Task

Download this Iowa Gambling Task assess decision-making skills.

How does it work?

Iowa Gambling Task relies on a systematic and structured approach to ensure consistent data collection, analysis, and interpretation. It was digitalized from manual techniques in conducting this test for easier access and use. Here is a guide on how to complete Iowa Gambling Tasks:

1. Familiarize yourself with the test

Download the printable Iowa Gambling Task. Read and understand the structure, purpose, and instructions with your copy.

2. Consent 

If prompted, consent by clicking the buttons or attaching your signature. Only consent if you have fully understood the necessary information about the task.

3. Practice Round

Engage in practice rounds to familiarise yourself with the tasks. Focus on how card selections and outcomes are presented. Doing the practice round will ensure that you have fully understood the task's instructions.

4. Main Task Rounds

Proceed to the main task rounds after you have completed the practice rounds. Each round consists of choosing a card from decks. Click on the deck of your choice to select a card. Be careful in choosing because this may result in gains or losses. Receive immediate feedback about the outcome of your choice while paying attention to the changes in your points. Learn and adapt by identifying which decks are advantageous and which are not. Make card selections at a comfortable pace—not too fast or slow.

5. Complete the task

Choose, feedback, learn, and choose again—repeat this process until a prompt that you have completed the task appears.

6. Interpret and Discuss

Interpret the results. A trained professional typically interprets. Make necessary steps depending on the result of the test. Reach out to a professional if indicated by the result.

Iowa Gambling Tasks Example (sample)

Understanding our decision-making and risk-taking behaviors is essential to building better habits.

We have created an Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) template to show how the task is structured, presented, and administered. This will help you understand the context in which this tool is used. This template offers a robust visual representation of the tool's design, instructions, and layout. You will see examples of the different decks presented when administering the test, allowing for an understanding of the gains and losses attached to them. It also shows how feedback is displayed to the participants after each card selection, letting you see how the participants receive information. Beyond that, this template offers a standardized presentation of how tasks can be customized to match your target populations. 

Our Iowa Gambling Tasks PDF template is printable and workable through different devices.

Download this Iowa Gambling Task Example:

Iowa Gambling Tasks Example (sample)

When would you use this Form?

Iowa Gambling Task is used by professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, researchers, data analysts, statisticians, educational professionals, and other practitioners in relevant fields. Here are several key scenarios when it is appropriate to use this tool:

  1. Initial Screening

If individuals exhibit atypical decision-making patterns, conducting a test that provides objective and accurate results is best. The Iowa Gambling Task can aid in assessing these patterns, providing initial screening.

Apart from that, it also aids in diagnosing conditions associated with brain injuries and lesions, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. 

  1. Healthcare Settings

Iowa Gambling Tasks help clinicians evaluate how decision-making impairments impact several disorders, including alcohol and drug addiction, impulse control disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.

  1. Treatment Evaluation

It can be used to assess the efficacy of treatment programs on decision-making. It can also be used to investigate how treatment programs, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy and meditation, impact decision-making patterns in clinical populations.

  1. Research Settings

Researchers can use Iowa Gambling Tasks to investigate various subjects, including neuroscience, addiction, risk-taking behavior, educational, developmental, age-related decline, and relevant topics.

  1. Economic Decision-Making

Iowa Gambling Tasks can also be used to understand how individuals make financial decisions, manage risks, and make investment choices. The insights provided by IGT have important economic implications, vital in building financial and business stability.

The Iowa Gambling Task is a versatile test used in varied settings, offering valuable insights into decision-making and risk-taking behaviors. 

Benefits of Iowa Gambling Task (IGT)

The Iowa Gambling Tasks provide valuable insights into the complex interplay between cognitive processes, emotions, and decision-making strategies in individuals. Beyond this, this test has more advantages, putting you ahead of the game. Here are some of the key benefits of Iowa Gambling Tasks:

  1. Iowa Gambling Task is free and accessible

Iowa Gambling Task is free and can be accessed by different populations interested in gaining insights about decision-making and risk-taking behaviors. A digitalized version was developed by online platforms, making it more convenient for individuals to access the test.

  1. Iowa Gambling Tasks allow for early detection

IGT allows for early detection and assessment of different conditions related to decision-making deficits and impulsive behaviors. Early detection is vital in creating treatment programs tailored to the needs of a wide range of clients.

  1. Iowa Gambling Tasks are versatile tools

IGT are versatile tests that can be conducted for different purposes, including clinical, therapeutical, educational, and research.

  1. Iowa Gambling Tasks have wide applicability

Iowa Gambling Tasks can be administered to various populations, including children to adults with different cultural backgrounds. It can also be adapted in different settings—from clinical to applied settings.

  1. Systematic and Structured Approach

Iowa Gambling Tasks demonstrated reliability and validity in various contexts. It employs a systematic and structured approach to assessing decision-making, risk assessment, and emotional factors, ensuring accurate and consistent results. It exhibits robust psychometric tools vital for clinical and research purposes.

  1. Real-Life Applicability

The Iowa Gambling Tasks model real-life decision-making processes that involve uncertain outcomes. It also demonstrates how past experiences can influence decisions. The insights gained from IGT can be applied to economics and business.

Research and Evidence 

The growing body of research demonstrates the significant contribution of Iowa Gambling Tasks in shaping our understanding of important cognitive processes, such as decision-making and risk-taking, and how emotions play a role in these processes.

In the original study of Bechara and colleagues (1994), Iowa Gambling Tasks was developed to study the nature of decision-making in individuals with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) impairments. As a vital part responsible for rational decision-making, impairments in VMPFC may result in cognitive biases and impulsive behavior. The results revealed that prefrontal patients could not predict the future consequences of their actions, making them prone to irrational decisions. This groundbreaking study allowed practitioners and researchers to study patients with brain injuries and other related conditions.

Siqueira and colleagues (2018) conducted a systematic review of studies that assess the relationship between decision-making impairments and patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The review highlighted the use of IGT in assessing cognitive impairments among the participants and demonstrated the tool's effectiveness in evaluating the decision-making deficits of patients with MDD.

Apart from these studies, there is a wealth of empirical evidence showing the efficiency of IGT as a research and clinical tool in assessing different cognitive-related conditions. Professionals and researchers have shown the validity and reliability of IGT in various settings with a wide range of populations as participants and clients.

Commonly asked questions

Who uses the Iowa Gambling Tasks?

IGT is a professional assessment tool used by different individuals, including psychologists, clinicians, neuroscientists, economists, cognitive modelers, and other professionals in relevant fields.

When do you use the Iowa Gambling Tasks?

IGT can be used for various purposes, such as (i) investigating cognitive biases, risk assessment, and emotional influences on choices; (ii) assessing decision-making deficits in conditions like addiction, depression, and brain injuries; (iii) understanding addictive behaviors, age-related cognitive changes, and cross-cultural influences on decisions; and many more.

How long does it take to complete Iowa Gambling Tasks?

It typically lasts for 20 to 30 minutes. The duration may vary based on the designs of the task and the number of trials administered.

Why use Carepatron as your Iowa Gambling Tasks app?

Carepatron aims to provide you with an ideal platform that assists you in managing your health and well-being. Part of this, it offers you the best place where you can accomplish Iowa Gambling Tasks. Here are some of the reasons why the Carepatron Iowa Gambling Tasks app is the best for you:

  1. User-friendly interface

The Carepatron Iowa Gambling Tasks app is easy to use and navigate. It has organized workflows that make completing the Stroop Tasks hassle-free.

  1. Functionalities

The Carepatron Iowa Gambling Tasks software offers tools and features tailored to meet the needs of its clients, giving them the best experience in completing the tasks. 

  1. Data-tracking and analysis

Carepatron employs robust data analytics that allows easy tracking of your data and progress. This feature is particularly valuable in detecting your journey.

  1. Accessibility

The Carepatron app is accessible by any device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, or computers. You can accomplish complete the task anytime, anywhere. This helps you save time and energy.

  1. Security

The Carepatron app provides secure data storage, ensuring the safety of your data collected through Iowa Gambling Tasks. This puts your safety and privacy on top of everything. 

  1. Comprehensive Care Management

Beyond Iowa Gambling Tasks, Carepatron offers complete care management. It offers tools and features that manage different health aspects, including scheduling, treatment, medications, appointments, health tracking, and symptom management. This comprehensive care management allows individuals to understand their health status and progress better, fostering healthier lives.

Clinical Documentation Software


Aram, S., Levy, L., Patel, J. B., Anderson, A. A., Zaragoza, R., Dashtestani, H., Chowdhry, F. A., Gandjbakhche, A., & Tracy, J. K. (2019). The Iowa Gambling Task: A review of the historical evolution, scientific basis, and use in functional neuroimaging. SAGE Open, 9(3), 215824401985691.

Bechara, A., Damasio A.R., Damasio H., Anderson S.W. (1994). Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 50, 7-15.

Siqueira, A. S., Flaks, M. K., Biella, M. M., Mauer, S., Borges, M. K., & Aprahamian, I. (2018). Decision making assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task and major depressive disorder a systematic review. Dementia & Neuropsychologia, 12(3), 250–255. 

Who uses the Iowa Gambling Tasks?
Who uses the Iowa Gambling Tasks?
Written by
Joshua Napilay
Joshua Napilay

Join 10,000+ teams using Carepatron to be more productive

One app for all your healthcare work