Reasoning in psychosis

Risky but not necessarily hasty

Steffen Moritz*, Florian Scheu, Christina Andreou, Ute Pfueller, Matthias Weisbrod, Daniela Roesch-Ely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A liberal acceptance (LA) threshold for hypotheses has been put forward to explain the well-replicated "jumping to conclusions" (JTC) bias in psychosis, particularly in patients with paranoid symptoms. According to this account, schizophrenia patients rest their decisions on lower subjective probability estimates. The initial formulation of the LA account also predicts an absence of the JTC bias under high task ambiguity (i.e., if more than one response option surpasses the subjective acceptance threshold). Methods. Schizophrenia patients (n = 62) with current or former delusions and healthy controls (n = 30) were compared on six scenarios of a variant of the beads task paradigm. Decisionmaking was assessed under low and high task ambiguity. Along with decision judgments (optional), participants were required to provide probability estimates for each option in order to determine decision thresholds (i.e., the probability the individual deems sufficient for a decision). Results. In line with the LA account, schizophrenia patients showed a lowered decision threshold compared to controls (82% vs. 93%) which predicted both more errors and less draws to decisions. Group differences on thresholds were comparable across conditions. At the same time, patients did not show hasty decision-making, reflecting overall lowered probability estimates in patients. Conclusions. Results confirm core predictions derived from the LA account. Our results may (partly) explain why hasty decisionmaking is sometimes aggravated and sometimes abolished in psychosis. The proneness to make risky decisions may contribute to the pathogenesis of psychosis. A revised LA account is put forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • decision thresholds
  • delusion
  • jumping to conclusions
  • psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

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  • Cite this

    Moritz, S., Scheu, F., Andreou, C., Pfueller, U., Weisbrod, M., & Roesch-Ely, D. (2016). Reasoning in psychosis: Risky but not necessarily hasty. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 21(2), 91-106. https://doi.org/10.1080/13546805.2015.1136611