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MCS – Age 14 – CANTAB Cambridge Gambling Task

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 14 sweep using the Cambridge Gambling Task from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.

Domain:Executive function (decision making)
Measures:The Cambridge Gambling Task was developed to assessÿdecision making and risk taking behaviour outside a learning context. It can be contrasted with widely used tests including the Balloon Analog Risk Taking Task (BART) and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) in that the CGT asks participants to make bets under conditions of known risk, rather than ambiguity (e.g., Bechara, Damasio, Tranel & Damasio 2005; Lejuez et al., 2002). The test minimises learning, executive and working memory demands on participants, which can confound the interpretation of test scores. It also separates the decision-making - where participants choose what to bet on - from risk-taking, where participants decide how much then to bet on that choice.
The test is recommended to assess cognitive function in: Attention deficit disorders, Depression and affective disorders, Obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, Schizophrenia and Traumatic brain injury.
CHC:Gs (Processing Speed)
Gt (Decision Speed/Reaction Time)
Administrative method:Self-completion on CAPI tablet; using the CANTAB eclipse software which was integrated into the CAPI interview.
Procedure:The participant was presented with a row of ten boxes across the top of the screen: some were red and some are blue. The ratio of red and blue boxes varied between stages but there was always one box that contained a yellow token. Participants used the 'Red' and 'Blue' buttons at the bottom of the screen to choose the box colour in which they thought the token was hidden.
In the assessed stages, participants start with 100 points and select a proportion of these points to bet on their decision. A circle in the centre of the screen displays the current bet value, which will either incrementally increase or decrease (depending on the task variant selected). Participants pressed this button when it showed the proportion of their score they would like to bet. These points were either added or taken away to their total score, depending on their decision and where the token was actually hidden.
Duration: max 18 minutes
Link to questionnaire:Documentation not available.
For some additional detail, see: (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Raw data and procedures / algorithms for deriving the summary scores are unavailable. There are currently no normative scores.
Item-level variable(s):Not readily available
No additional variables available outlining any technical problems
Test conditions in mcs6_cm_assessment.dta/
FCGTOUTCM (outcome of test)
Total score/derived variable(s):FCGTTTIME (Test duration)
FCGTDELAY (Delay aversion)
FCGTDTIME (Deliberation time - milliseconds)
FCGTOPBET (Overall proportional bet)
FCGTQOFDM (Quality of decision making)
FCGTRISKA (Risk adjustment)
FCGTRISKT (Risk taking)
Age of participant (months):Mean = 171, SD = 4.05, Range = 158 - 184
(deliberation time)(Delay aversion)(Overall proportional bet)
Range362 - 23691-.9 - .9.05 - .95
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FCGTQOFDM (Quality of decision making)FCGTRISKA (Risk adjustment)FCGTRISKT (Risk taking)
Range0 - 1-4.06 - 5.28.05 - .95
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Other sweep and/or cohort:MCS - Age 11 - CANTAB Cambridge Gambling Task
Source:Cambridge Cognition. CANTAB (Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery) - Cognitive Assessment Software. Available at:
Technical resources:Atkinson, M. (2015). Millennium Cohort Study-Interpreting the CANTAB Cognitive Measures. London, UK: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.
Hansen K, ed. (2012). Millennium Cohort Study-First, Second, Third and Fourth Surveys: A Guide to the Datasets. 7th ed. London, UK: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.
Reference examples:Creese, H., Viner, R., Hope, S., & Christie, D. (2018). Obesity and cognition during childhood: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study: Hanna Creese. European Journal of Public Health, 28(suppl_4), cky213-260.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.