Cognitive decision modelling of emotion-based learning impairment in schizophrenia: The role of awareness

Cella, Matteo; Dymond, Simon; Cooper, Andrew and Turnbull, Oliver. 2012. Cognitive decision modelling of emotion-based learning impairment in schizophrenia: The role of awareness. Psychiatry Research, 196, pp. 15-19. ISSN 0165-1781 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Individuals with schizophrenia often lack insight or awareness. Resulting impairment has been observed in various cognitive domains and, recently, linked to problems in emotion-based learning. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) has been used to assess emotion-based decision-making in patients with schizophrenia, but results have been inconclusive. The current study further investigates emotion-based decision-making in schizophrenia by elucidating the unique contribution of awareness. Twenty-five patients with schizophrenia and 24 healthy controls were assessed with a modified version of the IGT recording awareness at regular intervals. Symptom assessment, medication and medical history were recorded for the clinical group. Patients with schizophrenia underperformed on the IGT compared to controls. Subjective awareness levels were significantly lower in the schizophrenia group and were associated with hallucination severity. Cognitive decision modelling further indicated that patients with schizophrenia had impaired attention to losses, compared to controls. This parameter was positively correlated with awareness. We also found that positive symptoms altered awareness levels and suggest that this disruption may contribute to sub-optimal decision-making. Overall, a lack of awareness may be an important aspect in understanding impaired social cognitive functioning and emotion-based learning observed in schizophrenia.

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Date Deposited:

02 Mar 2012 11:16

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 14:16

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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