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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

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
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume202
Early online date10 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Funding

Supported by a European Research Council Consolidator Award (# 311686) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. A.-K.F. received support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VENI Grant [# 451-13-035 ] and a [2015] NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation [# 24138 ]. S.S.S. is supported by a European Research Council Consolidator Award (# 311686 ). This study represents independent research partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London . The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation24138
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
National Institute for Health Research
King's College London
European Research Council311686
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek451-13-035

    Keywords

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

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