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Background The “jumping to conclusions” (JTC) bias is associated with both psychosis and general cognition but their relationship is unclear. In this study, we set out to clarify the relationship between the JTC bias, IQ, psychosis and polygenic liability to schizophrenia and IQ. Methods 817 FEP patients and 1294 population-based controls completed assessments of general intelligence (IQ), and JTC (assessed by the number of beads drawn on the probabilistic reasoning “beads” task) and provided blood or saliva samples from which we extracted DNA and computed polygenic risk scores for IQ and schizophrenia. Results The estimated proportion of the total effect of case/control differences on JTC mediated by IQ was 79%. Schizophrenia Polygenic Risk Score (SZ PRS) was non-significantly associated with a higher number of beads drawn (B= 0.47, 95% CI −0.21 to 1.16, p=0.17); whereas IQ PRS (B=0.51, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.76, p<0.001) significantly predicted the number of beads drawn, and was thus associated with reduced JTC bias. The JTC was more strongly associated with higher level of psychotic-like experiences (PLE) in controls, including after controlling for IQ (B= −1.7, 95% CI −2.8 to −0.5, p =0.006), but did not relate to delusions in patients. Conclusions the JTC reasoning bias in psychosis is not a specific cognitive deficit but is rather a manifestation or consequence, of general cognitive impairment. Whereas, in the general population, the JTC bias is related to psychotic-like experiences, independent of IQ. The work has potential to inform interventions targeting cognitive biases in early psychosis.

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