Schizophrenia illness severity is associated with reduced loss aversion

James Currie (Lead / Corresponding author), Dheeraj Buruju, Jennifer S. Perrin, Ian C. Reid, J. Douglas Steele (Lead / Corresponding author), Nick Feltovich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
    294 Downloads (Pure)


    Loss aversion, whereby losses weigh more heavily than equal-sized gains, has been demonstrated in many decision-making settings. Previous research has suggested reduced loss aversion in schizophrenia, but with little evidence of a link between loss aversion and schizophrenia illness severity. In this study, 20 individuals with schizophrenia and 16 control participants, matched by age and sex, played two versions of the Iterated Prisoners’ Dilemma, one version with only positive payoffs and another version in which negative payoffs were possible, with the second version being derived from the first by subtracting a constant value from all payoffs. The control group demonstrated significantly lower cooperation rates under negative payoffs, compared with the version with only positive payoffs, indicative of loss aversion. The patient group on average showed no loss aversion response. Moreover, the extent of loss aversion in patients was found to be negatively correlated with schizophrenia illness severity, with less ill patients showing loss aversion more similar to controls. Results were found to be robust to the inclusion of potential confounding factors as covariates within rigorous probit regression analyses. Reduced loss aversion is a feature of schizophrenia and related to illness severity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-16
    Number of pages8
    JournalBrain Research
    Early online date11 Mar 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Psychiatry
    • Decision-making
    • Game theory
    • Experimental economics


    Dive into the research topics of 'Schizophrenia illness severity is associated with reduced loss aversion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this