Navigation Links
Calculating the value of effortful behavior: A clue to schizophrenia-related disability?

Philadelphia, PA -- Many people with schizophrenia have marked problems with motivation, failing to initiate and persist in goal-directed behavior. These negative symptoms of schizophrenia can be disabling and prevent individuals from realizing their potential.

For many years it was thought this was due to an inability to experience pleasure associated with successful goal attainment. However, recent laboratory studies have shown that hedonic experience is actually intact in people with schizophrenia, calling for new approaches to better understand these motivational deficits.

In a new study published in Biological Psychiatry, Dr. James Gold, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and his colleagues now provide a new clue to the relationship between motivational deficits and functional impairment.

They theorized that the lack of motivation may stem from a decreased willingness to expend effort to gain rewards. In other words, individuals with schizophrenia may be less able to properly evaluate future reward in terms of the 'cost' of the effort required.

To test this, the researchers recruited individuals with schizophrenia and a comparison group of healthy individuals. The individuals with schizophrenia were also evaluated for their symptom levels. All participants completed a computerized effort-cost decision-making task in the laboratory. This task required them to make decisions between two alternatives: an easy option with a minimal reward, and a harder option with a higher-value reward.

They found that schizophrenia patients, especially those with prominent negative symptoms, were more likely to choose the less demanding tasks that provided smaller rewards and were less likely than healthy subjects to choose more demanding tasks that offered greater rewards.

"In essence, patients with severe negative symptoms calculate the 'cost' of potential effort versus the value of potential awards using a different equation than healthy volunteers or other people with schizophrenia who do not have severe motivational problems. The cost of effort is more salient than the potential increase in reward value," explained Gold.

These findings suggest that negative symptoms are associated with abnormalities in how patients weigh the cost of the effort needed to receive a reward or reach a goal. Importantly, these abnormalities were seen consistently only in those patients with high levels of negative symptoms. It seems that these patients were particularly averse to the higher effort required for larger rewards and/or that they did not find the higher reward worth the extra effort required.

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented, "It is important to understand the disadvantageous choices that patients make because it may be possible, through education, rehabilitation, and perhaps medication to help patients make better progress in their rehabilitation."


Contact: Rhiannon Bugno

Related biology news :

1. Calculating phosphorus and calcium concentrations in meat and bone meal for pig diets
2. When calculating cell-growth thermodynamics, reconsider using the Gibbs free energy equation
3. Medical device, health professionals attend first national conference on value-driven engineering
4. Womens scientific achievements often overlooked and undervalued
5. Boston Healthcare Associates Roundtable Explores Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding the Value of Big Data within the Life Sciences
6. Family values
7. Reproducibility Initiative to increase the value of biomedical research
8. Cross Match Technologies Undoubtedly Offers the Highest Value to Customers in the North American Biometrics Market, Says Frost & Sullivan
9. Is the detection of early markers of Epstein Barr virus of diagnostic value?
10. Study confirms prognostic value of new IASLC/ATS/ERS adenocarcinoma sub-classification
11. Controversial dam removals founded on value conflicts
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... innovator in modern authentication and a founding member of ... of its latest version of the Nok Nok™ S3 ... use standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging methods ... is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that require ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... 2015  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier ... third quarter ended September 30, 2015.  --> ... was $4.0 million, a decrease of 33% compared to $6.0 million ... quarter of 2015 was $2.2 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, ... the same period a year ago.  --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of ... team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) ... USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes ... with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... biggest event of the year and one of the premier annual events for ... and ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its ... as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV ... embraced this type of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: