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Dopamine manipulations modulate paranoid social inferences in healthy people

Barnby, JM; Bell, V; Deeley, Q; Mehta, MA; (2020) Dopamine manipulations modulate paranoid social inferences in healthy people. Translational Psychiatry , 10 , Article 214. 10.1038/s41398-020-00912-4. Green open access

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Abstract

Altered dopamine transmission is thought to influence the formation of persecutory delusions. However, despite extensive evidence from clinical studies there is little experimental evidence on how modulating the dopamine system changes social attributions related to paranoia, and the salience of beliefs more generally. Twenty seven healthy male participants received 150mg L-DOPA, 3 mg haloperidol, or placebo in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study, over three within-subject sessions. Participants completed a multi-round Dictator Game modified to measure social attributions, and a measure of belief salience spanning themes of politics, religion, science, morality, and the paranormal. We preregistered predictions that altering dopamine function would affect (i) attributions of harmful intent and (ii) salience of paranormal beliefs. As predicted, haloperidol reduced attributions of harmful intent across all conditions compared to placebo. L-DOPA reduced attributions of harmful intent in fair conditions compared to placebo. Unexpectedly, haloperidol increased attributions of self-interest about opponents’ decisions. There was no change in belief salience within any theme. These results could not be explained by scepticism or subjective mood. Our findings demonstrate the selective involvement of dopamine in social inferences related to paranoia in healthy individuals.

Type: Article
Title: Dopamine manipulations modulate paranoid social inferences in healthy people
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-00912-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-00912-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Human behaviour, Neuroscience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105553
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