Probabilistic learning and inference in schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2011 Apr;127(1-3):115-22. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2010.08.009.


Patients with schizophrenia make decisions on the basis of less evidence when required to collect information to make an inference, a behavior often called jumping to conclusions. The underlying basis for this behavior remains controversial. We examined the cognitive processes underpinning this finding by testing subjects on the beads task, which has been used previously to elicit jumping to conclusions behavior, and a stochastic sequence learning task, with a similar decision theoretic structure. During the sequence learning task, subjects had to learn a sequence of button presses, while receiving a noisy feedback on their choices. We fit a Bayesian decision making model to the sequence task and compared model parameters to the choice behavior in the beads task in both patients and healthy subjects. We found that patients did show a jumping to conclusions style; and those who picked early in the beads task tended to learn less from positive feedback in the sequence task. This favours the likelihood of patients selecting early because they have a low threshold for making decisions, and that they make choices on the basis of relatively little evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Probability Learning*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*