Towards a reliable repeated-measures beads task for assessing the jumping to conclusions bias

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McLean, Benjamin F
Mattiske, Julie Kay
Balzan, Ryan P
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© 2017 Elsevier BV.
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Elsevier BV.
The jumping to conclusions bias (JTC), in which some people gather less information than others before making a decision, has been linked to delusions in psychosis. JTC is usually identified via the beads task, in which a sequence of beads (the “target” sequence) is used to measure the amount of evidence participants require before making a decision. Yet, despite its common use, the reliability of the task has never been properly investigated. We investigated its reliability, and tested an alternate version which used distractor sequences to obfuscate the target sequence. Healthy participants (N = 212) were randomised into two groups. One group completed ten trials using the target sequence, while the other completed ten trials of the target sequence and three distractor sequences. Our data indicated the standard task may not be reliable over repeated measures, but that by including distractor sequences, the task becomes more believable, repeatable, and reliable. Additionally, excluding first-trial data (a “silent” practice trial) also improves repeatability. These improvements to the task are relevant to single trial studies, and will be especially useful to repeated-measures longitudinal, experimental, and treatment studies. Such repeated-measures studies are important for investigating the causal link between JTC and delusions.
© 2017 Elsevier BV. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: This author accepted manuscript is made available following 12 month embargo from date of publication (April 2018) in accordance with the publisher’s archiving policy
beads task, jumping to conclusions, repeated measures, repeatability, reliability
McLean, B. F., Mattiske, J. K., & Balzan, R. P. (2018). Towards a reliable repeated-measures beads task for assessing the jumping to conclusions bias. Psychiatry Research, 265, 200–207. j.psychres.2018.04.043