The Information Sampling Task (IST) is a behavioral measure of reflection impulsivity that assesses the amount of information people accrue prior to making to a decision. Participants are asked to determine the color of the majority of items on a computer screen display for a total of 20 trials. At the start of each trial this display consists of a square grid comprised of 25 grey boxes arranged in 5 rows and 5 columns. Participants have the opportunity to test boxes one at a time to learn more information in order to make their decision. Immediately after each test the selected box changes from grey to one of two colors (e.g., yellow or green). Participants can select as many boxes as they prefer and as quickly or slowly as they prefer during this sampling phase. Then, at any time during the information gathering process participants may choose to stop their sampling and instead select one of two colored panels at the bottom of the screen to indicate their decision about the correct answer for the current display (e.g., yellow or green). A feedback screen appears for two seconds after participants make their decision. For correct answers the feedback message reads: “Correct! You have won [x] points.” For incorrect answers the feedback message reads: ‘“Wrong! You have lost 100 points.” During a jittered intertrial interval of at least 1 second participants can view their current earnings displayed on the screen. The 20 trials are presented in blocked design with two conditions with counterbalanced order. In the Fixed Win condition, 100 points are won for each correct answer, and 100 points are lost for each incorrect answer. Critically, the earnings and losses for this condition are not dependent on the number of sampled boxes prior to the decision. In contrast, in the Decreasing Win condition, the total possible win for correct answers begins at 250 points and decreases by 10 points for each box sampled. The losses are always 100 points for this condition. The following dependent measures may be compared for the two conditions: the average number of boxes opened before committing to a decision, the probability of a correct answer at the point of the decision (i.e., taking into account the available sampled information), and the number of incorrect decisions.
The IST measures the amount of information accrued before a decision is made in order to index reflection impulsivity, a dimension of self-regulation. Both current and former substance users of amphetamines and opiates use less information to inform decision making in this task than demographically matched non-user controls (Clark, Robbins, Ersche, & Sahakian, 2006). This finding suggests that reflection impulsivity may be a measurable self-regulatory mechanism of behavior change.
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Text Citation: Clark, L., Robbins, T. W., Ersche, K. D., & Sahakian, B. J. (2006). Reflection Impulsivity in Current and Former Substance Users. Biological Psychiatry, 60(5), 515-522.
This measure has not been measured yet.
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This measure has not been validated yet.
The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.