Emotion Recognition and Impulsive Choice in Relation to Methamphetamine Use and Psychosis Symptoms

Shalini Arunogiri, Antonio Verdejo-Garcia, Rebecca McKetin, Adam J. Rubenis, Rebecca E. Fitzpatrick, Dan I. Lubman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: The cognitive profiles of people with methamphetamine use disorder are characterized by impulsivity and impairment in social cognition. However, previous studies have not fully accounted for the presence and impact of co-occurring mental health problems on these domains. For instance, psychotic symptoms are commonly experienced by people who use methamphetamine and may influence cognitive performance. We aimed to examine decision making and emotion recognition in individuals with methamphetamine use, compared to healthy controls, to map the nature and degree of impairments in relation to the presence of psychotic symptoms.
Method: In this naturalistic study, we assessed reward-based decision-making and facial emotion recognition across three groups, methamphetamine-using individuals with (MAP, n = 29) and without psychotic symptoms (MNP, n = 70), and healthy controls (HC, n = 32).
Results: In comparison to healthy controls, methamphetamine-using individuals presented with poorer performance on tasks of decision-making and emotion recognition. Emotion recognition was impaired across all methamphetamine-using individuals, with significantly poorer recognition of anger and sadness in those with psychotic symptoms.
Conclusion: We found specific impairments in emotion recognition in relation to psychotic symptoms in people who use methamphetamine regularly. This builds on previous evidence on cognitive profiles in methamphetamine use disorder, highlighting the need to assess co-morbid mental health and psychotic symptoms. Our finding that methamphetamine-using individuals with psychotic symptoms present with particular difficulties recognizing anger has implications for frontline clinicians.
Original languageEnglish
Article number889
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019


  • methamphetamine
  • psychosis
  • social cognition
  • cognition
  • comorbidity

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