Cooperation and sensitivity to social feedback during group interactions in schizophrenia

Esther Hanssen, Anne-Kathrin Fett, Thomas P. White, Caroline Caddy, Stian Reimers, Sukhi S. Shergill

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Patients with schizophrenia show reduced cooperation and less sensitivity to social cues in pairwise interactions, however, it remains unclear whether these mechanisms are also present in interactions within social groups. We used a public goods game to investigate cooperation and sensitivity to social feedback in group interactions in 27 patients with schizophrenia and 27 healthy controls. Participants played 40 trials in two conditions: 1) no fine (20 trials): participants had the choice of investing into the public good (i.e. cooperating) or not (i.e. defecting), 2) fine (20 trials): participants had the same choice but defectors could be punished by the other players. On the first trial, patients invested less in the public good than healthy controls. In the no fine condition, controls decreased their investments over time, but patients did not. The possibility of being fined for defecting and actually being fined led to significantly higher cooperation in both groups. This shows that the groups were equally sensitive to social enforcement and social feedback. Our findings suggest that patients tend to approach social group interactions with less cooperative behaviour, which could contribute to social dysfunction in daily-life. However, an intact sensitivity to social enforcement and feedback indicates that patients can adjust their behaviour accordingly in group interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date10 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Schizophrenia
  • Social interactions
  • Public goods paradigm
  • Social feedback


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