Testing the social competition hypothesis of depression using a simple economic game

Kupferberg, Aleksandra; Hager, Oliver M; Fischbacher, Urs; Brändle, Laura S; Haynes, Melanie; Hasler, Gregor (2016). Testing the social competition hypothesis of depression using a simple economic game. BJPsych open, 2(2), pp. 163-169. The Royal College of Psychiatrists 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.001362

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BACKGROUND Price's social competition hypothesis interprets the depressive state as an unconscious, involuntary losing strategy, which enables individuals to yield and accept defeat in competitive situations. AIMS We investigated whether patients who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD) would avoid competition more often than either patients suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) or healthy controls. METHOD In a simple paper-folding task healthy participants and patiens with MDD and BPD were matched with two opponents, one with an unknown diagnosis and one who shared their clinical diagnosis, and they had to choose either a competitive or cooperative payment scheme for task completion. RESULTS When playing against an unknown opponent, but not the opponent with the same diagnosis, the patients with depression chose the competitive payment scheme statistically less often than healthy controls and patients diagnosed with BPD. CONCLUSION The competition avoidance against the unknown opponent is consistent with Price's social competition hypothesis. DECLARATION OF INTEREST G.H. received research support, consulting fees and speaker honoraria from Lundbeck, AstraZeneca, Servier, Eli Lilly, Roche and Novartis. COPYRIGHT AND USAGE © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Healthcare Research

UniBE Contributor:

Kupferberg, Aleksandra; Haynes, Melanie and Hasler, Gregor

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

2056-4724

Publisher:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Language:

English

Submitter:

Gregor Hasler

Date Deposited:

23 Feb 2017 14:10

Last Modified:

08 Jun 2017 08:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.001362

PubMed ID:

27703769

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.92314

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/92314

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