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Mol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;20(3):345-52. doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.44. Epub 2014 May 20.

Disorders of compulsivity: a common bias towards learning habits.

Author information

1
1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [2] Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [3] Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.
2
1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA [2] Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
3
Division of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
5
Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
7
1] Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [2] Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
8
Department of Psychiatry, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, UK.
9
1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [2] Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
10
Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.
11
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.
12
Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.
13
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London, UK.
14
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
15
1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [2] Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK [3] Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK [4] NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

Why do we repeat choices that we know are bad for us? Decision making is characterized by the parallel engagement of two distinct systems, goal-directed and habitual, thought to arise from two computational learning mechanisms, model-based and model-free. The habitual system is a candidate source of pathological fixedness. Using a decision task that measures the contribution to learning of either mechanism, we show a bias towards model-free (habit) acquisition in disorders involving both natural (binge eating) and artificial (methamphetamine) rewards, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This favoring of model-free learning may underlie the repetitive behaviors that ultimately dominate in these disorders. Further, we show that the habit formation bias is associated with lower gray matter volumes in caudate and medial orbitofrontal cortex. Our findings suggest that the dysfunction in a common neurocomputational mechanism may underlie diverse disorders involving compulsion.

PMID:
24840709
PMCID:
PMC4351889
DOI:
10.1038/mp.2014.44
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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