The Valuation of Social Reinforcement in Schizophrenia
Catalano, Lauren Theresa
Blanchard, Jack J
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Facial affect perception impairments impede social functioning in schizophrenia. What remains unknown is how individuals with schizophrenia assign value to pleasant facial expressions that typically motivate social affiliation. The current study adapted a matching pennies game (Shore & Heerey, 2011) to assess the subjective value of social feedback in terms of money. Individuals with schizophrenia and controls were instructed to choose the same side of a coin as six computerized partners, each of whom provided different rates of monetary feedback and types of social feedback. In a later test phase, participants chose which partner to play from amongst pairs of partners. Among participants who appropriately learned task contingencies, individuals with schizophrenia failed to use genuine smiles to motivate choices to the same extent as controls; however, money was equally valued. These findings suggest that there is a reduced sensitivity to social rewards in schizophrenia.