Pupillary responses to a cognitive effort task in schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2018 Sep;199:53-57. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


Effort-based decision making paradigms are increasingly utilized to gain insight into the nature of motivation deficits. Although these tasks are being used to assess effort and motivation in schizophrenia, little work has been done to confirm that effort-based decision making tasks validly manipulate effort. In the current study, we adapted the effort component a cognitive effort-based decision making task (the Deck Choice Effort Task) for use with pupillometric assessment. We sought to confirm with psychophysiology that cognitive effort is manipulated. We also examined correlations between physiological indicators of effort exertion and cognition and negative symptoms. The results confirmed manipulation of cognitive effort: there was a significant difference in pupillary responses between easy and difficult task conditions. Pupillary responses were also correlated with cognitive ability, and with negative symptoms when controlling for cognition. Thus, our findings offer physiological validation of an effort manipulation included in a cognitive effort-based decision making task for schizophrenia.

Keywords: Biomarker; Effort-based decision making; Motivation; Negative symptoms; Pupillometry; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition* / physiology
  • Decision Making* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pupil*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*