Reward and punishment learning in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Eid Abohamza*, Thomas Weickert, Manal Ali, Ahmed A. Moustafa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Prior studies on reward learning deficits in psychiatric disorders have used probabilistic learning tasks, making it unclear whether impairment is due to the probabilistic nature of the task rather than reward processing. In this study, we tested probabilistic vs. deterministic reward and punishment learning in healthy controls and three patient groups: schizophrenia (SZ), psychotic bipolar disorder (BD), and nonpsychotic BD. Experimental results show that reward learning was impaired in patients with SZ and patients with psychotic BD in the probabilistic learning task compared to patients with nonpsychotic BD and healthy controls. In contrast, punishment learning in the probabilistic task was impaired in patients with nonpsychotic BD compared to the other patient groups and healthy controls. There were no significant differences among all groups in the deterministic learning task scores. We also found that Hamilton Depression Scale scores negatively correlated with probabilistic learning performance. Our data may suggest that reward learning impairment may be due to the nature of the task as well as subtype of BD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112298
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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