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Mental Health - Neuroscience

Belief Revision and Delusions: How Do Patients with Schizophrenia Take Advice?
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Author: Mariia Kaliuzhna et al.

by Mariia Kaliuzhna, Valérian Chambon, Nicolas Franck, Bérangère Testud, Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst

The dominant cognitive model that accounts for the persistence of delusional beliefs in schizophrenia postulates that patients suffer from a general deficit in belief revision. It is generally assumed that this deficit is a consequence of impaired reasoning skills. However, the possibility that such inflexibility affects the entire system of a patient's beliefs has rarely been empirically tested. Using delusion-neutral material in a well-documented advice-taking task, the present study reports that patients with schizophrenia: 1) revise their beliefs, 2) take into account socially provided information to do so, 3) are not overconfident about their judgments, and 4) show less egocentric advice-discounting than controls. This study thus shows that delusional patients' difficulty in revising beliefs is more selective than had been previously assumed. The specificities of the task and the implications for a theory of delusion formation are discussed.