Paranoia is the belief that harm is intended by others. It may arise from selective pressures to infer and avoid social threats, particularly in ambiguous or changing circumstances. We propose that uncertainty may be sufficient to elicit learning differences in paranoid individuals, without social threat. We used reversal learning behavior and computational modeling to estimate belief updating across individuals with and without mental illness, online participants, and rats chronically exposed to methamphetamine, an elicitor of paranoia in humans. Paranoia is associated with a stronger prior on volatility, accompanied by elevated sensitivity to perceived changes in the task environment. Methamphetamine exposure in rats recapitulates this impaired uncertainty-driven belief updating and rigid anticipation of a volatile environment. Our work provides evidence of fundamental, domain-general learning differences in paranoid individuals. This paradigm enables further assessment of the interplay between uncertainty and belief-updating across individuals and species.
- Philip R Corlett
- Stephanie Mary Groman
- Philip R Corlett
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) at Yale University
Human subjects: Experiments were conducted at Yale University and the Connecticut Mental Health Center (New Haven, CT) in strict accordance with Yale University's Human Investigation Committee and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Informed consent was provided by all research participants (Yale HIC# 2000022111: Beliefs and Personality Traits)
- Geoffrey Schoenbaum, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2020, Reed et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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