Computational Psychiatry & Decision-making

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  • doi pdf Deficits in context-dependent adaptive coding in early psychosis and healthy individuals with schizotypal personality traits
  • Kirschner M, Haugg A, Manoliu A, Simon JJ, Huys QJM, Seifritz E, Tobler PN and Kaiser S
  • Brain (2018) 141:2806 - 2819
  • Objective:Adaptive coding of information is a fundamental principle of brain functioning. It allows for efficient representation over a large range of inputs and thereby alleviates the limited coding range of neurons. In the present study, we investigated for the first time potential alterations in context-dependent reward adaptation and its association with symptom dimensions in the schizophrenia spectrum.

    Method: We studied 27 patients with first-episode psychosis, 26 individuals with schizotypal personality traits and 25 healthy controls. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a variant of the monetary incentive delay task and assessed adaptive reward coding in two reward conditions with different reward ranges.

    Results: Compared to healthy controls, patients with first-episode psychosis and healthy individuals with schizotypal personality traits showed a deficit in increasing the blood-oxygen-level dependent response slope in the right caudate for the low reward range compared to the high reward range. In other words, the two groups showed inefficient neural adaptation to the current reward context. In addition, we found impaired adaptive coding of reward in the caudate nucleus and putamen to be associated with total symptom severity across the schizophrenia spectrum. Symptom severity was more strongly associated with neural deficits in adaptive coding than with the neural coding of absolute reward outcomes.

    Conclusions: Deficits in adaptive coding were prominent across the schizophrenia spectrum and even detectable in unmedicated (healthy) individuals with schizotypal personality traits. Furthermore, the association between total symptom severity and impaired adaptive coding in the right caudate and putamen suggests a dimensional mechanism underlying imprecise neural adaptation. Our findings support the idea that impaired adaptive coding may be a general information-processing deficit explaining disturbances within the schizophrenia spectrum over and above a simple model of blunted absolute reward signals.