Prediction Error Processing in Schizophrenia: A/Prof Mike Le Pelley

What is this research about?

Schizophrenia is a devastating and debilitating mental illness, and one of Australia’s major health burdens.

Prominent among the positive symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions: fixed, false beliefs about the world that preoccupy the patient and affect behaviour.

The key to treating (and potentially eliminating) delusions requires us to understand the mechanisms of belief formation and maintenance that give rise to delusions and allow them to persist even in the face of contradictory evidence.

This project investigates the possibility that formation and maintenance of delusions reflects a fundamental change in the way that people with schizophrenia respond to “prediction errors”; mismatches between what they expect, and what they experience. We hope that the insights offered by our findings will allow for more focussed cognitive interventions that aim to eliminate, rather than merely mask, delusions.

Other researchers involved:

A/Prof Melissa Green, UNSW
Prof Simon Killcross, UNSW
A/Prof Tom Whitford, UNSW
Dr Richard Morris, UNSW
Dr Oren Griffiths, UNSW

Publications relating to this research:

Haselgrove, M., Le Pelley, M. E., Singh, N. K., Teow, H. Q., Morris, R. W., Green, M. J., Griffiths, O., & Killcross, S. (2016). Disrupted attentional learning in high schizotypy: Evidence of aberrant salience. British Journal of Psychology, 107, 601-624.

Griffiths, O., Langdon, R., & Le Pelley, M. E. (2015). The bridge between neuroscience and cognition must be tethered at both ends. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 20, 106-108.

Griffiths, O., Langdon, R., Le Pelley, M. E., & Coltheart, M. (2014). Delusions and prediction error: Re-examining the behavioural evidence for disrupted error signalling in delusion formation. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 19, 439-467.

Morris, R., Griffiths, O., Le Pelley, M. E., & Weickert, T. W. (2013). Attention to irrelevant cues is related to positive symptoms in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 39, 575-582.

Schmidt-Hansen, M., & Le Pelley, M. E. (2012). The positive symptoms of schizophrenia and latent inhibition in humans and animals: Underpinned by the same process(es)? Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 17, 473-505.

Le Pelley, M. E., Schmidt-Hansen, M., Harris, N. J., Lunter, C. M., & Morris, C. S. (2010). Disentangling the attentional deficit in schizophrenia: Pointers from schizotypy. Psychiatry Research, 176, 143-149.

Le Pelley, M. E., & Schmidt-Hansen, M. (2010). Latent inhibition and learned irrelevance in human contingency learning. In R. E. Lubow & I. Weiner (Eds.), Latent Inhibition: Cognition, Neuroscience, and Applications to Schizophrenia (pp. 94-113). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Grants awarded:

Le Pelley ME, Morris RW, Green M, Whitford TJ & Killcross AS (01/14 – 01/17). NHMRC Project Grant APP1069487. Prediction error processing in schizophrenia.


To find out more information about this research, please contact Associate Professor Mike Le Pelley.