Delay discounting in schizophrenia

Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2007 May;12(3):213-21. doi: 10.1080/13546800601005900.


Background: It is well known that individuals with schizophrenia have dopaminergic abnormalities as well as memory-related difficulties, both of which are associated with impulsive decision making. We used a delay discounting measure to test the degree to which patients make future-oriented decisions.

Methods: 42 patients with schizophrenia and 29 healthy participants completed a delay discounting measure along with tests of cognitive function and, in patients, symptom ratings.

Results: Patients discounted more steeply than did comparison participants. Discounting among patients related to memory capacity and tended to relate inversely to negative symptoms.

Conclusions: The impulsive decision making evidenced by patients suggests that they may be prone to choosing immediate over long-term rewards, even when their interests are better served by choosing the latter. Improving cognitive function may enhance their ability to make future-oriented decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Decision Making
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / epidemiology
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reward*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception*


  • Dopamine