Individuals with schizophrenia show difficulties in achieving vital objectives. Abnormal behavioral and emotional responses to environmental feedback may be some of the psychological mechanisms underlying this lack of goal attainment in schizophrenia. The present study aims to assess how different types of feedback may affect performance in a computerized affective Posner task (non-monetary vs. monetary rewards; contingent vs. non-contingent feedback). The sample was composed of 32 patients with schizophrenia and 35 controls. Reaction times and error rates were the behavioral measurements. The emotional experience was assessed through self-reported affective scales. The results indicated that: ii) the performance with monetary rewards was better than with non-monetary ones in all participants, especially in patients with schizophrenia when higher attentional resources are required (invalid trials). Second, all participants demonstrated faster reaction times, but higher error rates, with non-contingent feedback (frustration condition). Significantly, the schizophrenia group only equaled the controls performance in the non-contingent condition with monetary rewards. Additionally, the higher the negative symptoms were in patients, the worse performance they had under frustration. Third, discrepancies between performance and self-report affect were found in patients. Specifically, after the induction of frustration, the patients reported feeling better and having no arousal changes. Therefore, the findings suggest that, in schizophrenia: i) non-monetary rewards are relatively less important; ii) monetary rewards lessen the negative effects of frustration, iii) discrepancies in self-reported affective scales suggest an unrealistic self-evaluation made under frustration. These findings shed light on the underlying mechanisms of the lack of goal attainment in schizophrenia.
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