Delay discounting and task performance consistency in patients with schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • To study impaired goal-oriented behavior in schizophrenia (SZ), we used a delay discounting task, which consists of a series of choices between receiving a small immediate or larger delayed reward. Few studies of delay discounting have evaluated response consistency (R2), which is especially relevant in SZ because of documented inconsistency in task performance. We calculated the rate of discounting (k) and R2 in SZ (n=35) and healthy controls (HC; n=21). Using a criterion value of R2>0.60 to define consistent performance allowed us to compare discounting in consistent SZ and HC, as well as in inconsistent SZ. Groups did not differ significantly in smoking. Compared to HC, consistent SZ showed greater delay discounting. Both groups exhibited similar patterns of decreasing immediate choices across trial categories, although the decrease was less for SZ. Separate analyses on smokers and non-smokers showed that this group difference was carried by the non-smokers. Inconsistent SZ discounted more than HC and consistent SZ, but their aberrant pattern of choices casts doubt on the validity of their calculated k values. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Weller RE; Avsar KB; Cox JE; Reid MA; White DM; Lahti AC
  • Start Page

  • 286
  • End Page

  • 293
  • Volume

  • 215
  • Issue

  • 2