Decreased value-sensitivity in schizophrenia

Cristina Martinelli, Francesco Rigoli, Ray J. Dolan, Sukhwinder S. Shergill

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11 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


Pathophysiology in schizophrenia has been linked to aberrant incentive salience, namely the dysfunctional processing of value linked to abnormal dopaminergic activity. In line with this, recent studies showed impaired learning of value in schizophrenia. However, how value is used to guide behaviour independently from learning, as in risky choice, has rarely been examined in this disorder. We studied value-guided choice under risk in patients with schizophrenia and in controls using a task requiring a choice between a certain monetary reward, varying trial-by-trial, and a gamble offering an equal probability of getting double this certain amount or nothing. We observed that patients compared to controls exhibited reduced sensitivity to values, implying that their choices failed to flexibly adapt to the specific values on offer. Moreover, the degree of this value sensitivity inversely correlated with aberrant salience experience, suggesting that the inability to tune choice to value may be a key element of aberrant salience in the illness. Our results help clarify the cognitive mechanisms underlying improper attribution of value in schizophrenia and may thus inform cognitive interventions aimed at reinstating value sensitivity in patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-301
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date23 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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