A new study by researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK claims that individuals who are prone to delusions are more likely to make rushed decisions.
A delusion is an irrational belief that something is true, even when there is concrete evidence to the contrary. Delusions are prominent in many mental health disorders, including schizophrenia.
According to study author Dr. Ryan McKay, of the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, individuals who experience delusions “have unjustified, and sometimes bizarre, beliefs about themselves and the world.”
“A tendency to gather insufficient evidence when forming beliefs, and making decisions, is thought to be a core cognitive component of delusion formation,” he adds.
In their study, recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine, the researchers wanted to better determine the role of delusions in decision-making.
Delusion-prone subjects failed to gather as much information
Study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire detailing how prone they were to experiencing delusions, before taking part in a computer-based experiment that measured their ability to gather information before making a decision.
In the experiment, participants were asked to watch a screen on which they were shown a sequence of black or white fish that had been caught from one of two lakes. Based on their observations, the participants were asked to decide which lake was the source of the fish.
Rewards were given to the participants if they chose the correct lake, but they received penalties if they chose incorrectly. “The combination of rewards and costs created optimal decision points, allowing us to investigate genuine ‘jumps to conclusions,’” Dr. McKay explains.
The researchers found that the more prone to delusions participants were, the more likely they were to decide on a lake earlier than those who were less prone to delusions. In other words, delusion-prone subjects failed to gather as much information to ensure they were making the best decision.