October 20, 2020

A generic decision-making ability predicts psychopathology in adolescents and young adults and is reflected in distinct brain connectivity patterns

Decision-making underpins many important facets of our lives. Here, we assessed if a general ability factor underpins decision-making abilities. Using factor analysis of 32 decision-making measures in 830 adolescents and young adults, we identified a common factor we refer to as ‘decision acuity’ that was distinct from IQ and reflected advantageous decision-making abilities. Decision acuity decreased with low general social functioning and aberrant thinking. Crucially, decision acuity and IQ had dissociable neural signatures in terms of resting-state functional connectivity involving specific neural networks. Finally, decision acuity was reliable and its relationship with functional connectivity was stable when measured in the same individuals 18 months later. We conclude that our behavioural and brain data demonstrate a new cognitive construct encapsulating ability to perform decision-making across distinct domains, and that the expression of this construct may be important for understanding psychopathology.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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