Can features of a psychiatric disorder actually have beneficial effects under certain conditions? This is the question that we asked in our new paper that just came out in PLOS Computational Biology. We were particularly interested in an indecisiveness that is often reported in patients with OCD.
Using an information gathering task, in which one is able to collect additional information before committing to a decision, we showed that juvenile OCD patients indeed won more points. Using computational modelling, we were then able to pin down the computational mechanism to a delayed emergence of a subjective feeling of urgency to respond. Our finding thus shows that under certain circumstance, an indecisiveness can actually have beneficial consequences.
Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, Iannaccone R, Brem S, Walitza S, Drechsler R*, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2017). Increased decision thresholds enhance information gathering performance in juvenile obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). PLoS Comput Biol 13(4): e1005440