Impaired social decision making in patients with major depressive disorder.
Research on how depression influences social decision making has been scarce. This study investigated how people with depression make decisions in an interpersonal trust-reciprocity game. Fifty female patients diagnosed with major depressive disorders (MDDs) and 49 healthy women participated in this study. The experiment was conducted on a one-to-one basis. Participants were asked to play the role of a trustee responsible for investing money given to them by an anonymous female investor playing on another computer station. In each trial, the investor would send to a participant (the trustee) a request for a certain percentage of the appreciated investment (repayment proportion). Since only the participant knew the exact amount of the appreciated investment, she could decide to pay more (altruistic act), the same, or less (deceptive act) than the requested amount. The participant's money acquired in the trial would be confiscated if her deceptive act was caught. The frequency of deceptive or altruistic decisions and relative monetary gain in each decision choice were examined. People with depression made fewer deceptive and fewer altruistic responses than healthy controls in all conditions. Moreover, the specific behavioral pattern presented by people with depression was modulated by the task factors, including the risk of deception detection and others' intentions (benevolence vs. malevolence). Findings of this study contribute to furthering our understanding of the specific pattern of social behavioral changes associated with depression.
Zhang, H-J; Sun, D; Lee, TMC
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