Examination of social decision making in patients with schizophrenia using ultimatum game.Asian J Psychiatr. 2020 Apr; 50:101937.AJ
Intact decision-making skills in the social context are essential for optimal functioning in the community. Despite its significance, social decision making in schizophrenia (SCZ) has not been adequately examined. Hence, we examined social decision making in SCZ using the Ultimatum Game(UG), a neuroeconomic paradigm that involves financial transactions between a proposer and a responder to split a sum of money between them. Thirty male patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia as per DSM-IV (age = 30 ± 7.08) and thirty age-matched healthy male volunteers (HV;age = 28.48 ± 3.74) participated in the study. All participants functioned as responders and had to either accept or reject offers made by an anonymous proposer. We also examined whether the gender or emotional expression of the proposer influenced acceptance rates. SCZ had significantly lower acceptance rates than HV for slightly unequal offers (t = 3.94, p = < 0.0001). However, there was no significant difference between SCZ and HV for other offers. Gender and emotional expression of the proposer did not significantly influence the outcome. These results suggest aberrant social decision making and increased inequity aversion in patients with SCZ. The difficulty in incorporating social components while engaging in financial interactions could have important implications for rehabilitation, functional recovery, and successful community living in SCZ.