Delay discounting abnormalities are seen in first-episode schizophrenia but not in bipolar disorder

Huan Wang, Tyler A. Lesh, Richard J. Maddock, Catherine Fassbender, Cameron S. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Delay discounting (DD) is the phenomenon of individuals discounting future rewards as a function of time. It has been studied extensively in chronic schizophrenia (SZ) and the results of these studies have been variable. Comorbidity in chronic samples could be one reason for the mixed findings and studies in first-episode (FE) samples are surprisingly lacking. Bipolar disorder (BP) which shares some genetic and symptom features with SZ could serve as an interesting comparison group for DD but has been underexplored. Here we present the first study that combines FE SZ, FE BP with psychotic features, as well as healthy controls and study DD with two versions of the task. We found that SZ showed steeper discounting than HC and BP on the well-validated Kirby DD task. SZ showed no difference than HC on a separate DD task with smaller rewards presented with decimal places and shorter delays. As a preliminary finding, DD was found to be positively related to positive symptoms in FE SZ, while no relationship was found between negative symptoms and DD. In addition, we found comparable DD in BP compared to HC. Ultimately, our data may help elucidate the psychopathology in SZ and BP during intertemporal decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Delay discounting
  • First-episode bipolar disorder
  • First-episode schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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