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PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Apr 12;13(4):e1005440. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005440. eCollection 2017 Apr.

Increased decision thresholds enhance information gathering performance in juvenile Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
2
Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, London, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
4
Neuroscience Center Zurich, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
5
Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
6
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be described as cautious and hesitant, manifesting an excessive indecisiveness that hinders efficient decision making. However, excess caution in decision making may also lead to better performance in specific situations where the cost of extended deliberation is small. We compared 16 juvenile OCD patients with 16 matched healthy controls whilst they performed a sequential information gathering task under different external cost conditions. We found that patients with OCD outperformed healthy controls, winning significantly more points. The groups also differed in the number of draws required prior to committing to a decision, but not in decision accuracy. A novel Bayesian computational model revealed that subjective sampling costs arose as a non-linear function of sampling, closely resembling an escalating urgency signal. Group difference in performance was best explained by a later emergence of these subjective costs in the OCD group, also evident in an increased decision threshold. Our findings present a novel computational model and suggest that enhanced information gathering in OCD can be accounted for by a higher decision threshold arising out of an altered perception of costs that, in some specific contexts, may be advantageous.

PMID:
28403139
PMCID:
PMC5406001
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005440
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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