Effects of depression on reward-based decision making and variability of action in probabilistic learning

Yoshihiko Kunisato, Yasumasa Okamoto, Kazutaka Ueda, Keiichi Onoda, Go Okada, Shinpei Yoshimura, Shin Ichi Suzuki, Kazuyuki Samejima, Shigeto Yamawaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and objectives: Depression is characterized by low reward sensitivity in behavioral studies applying signal detection theory. We examined deficits in reward-based decision making in depressed participants during a probabilistic learning task, and used a reinforcement learning model to examine learning parameters during the task. Methods: Thirty-six nonclinical undergraduates completed a probabilistic selection task. Participants were divided into depressed and non-depressed groups based on Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) cut scores. We then applied a reinforcement learning model to every participant's behavioral data. Results: Depressed participants showed a reward-based decision making deficit and higher levels of the learning parameter τ, which modulates variability of action selection, as compared to non-depressed participants. Highly variable action selection is more random and characterized by difficulties with selecting a specific course of action. Conclusion: These results suggest that depression is characterized by deficits in reward-based decision making as well as high variability in terms of action selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1094
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec

Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Depression
  • Probabilistic learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Reward sensitivity
  • Variability of action selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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