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Title: Exaggerated envy and guilt measured by economic games in Japanese women with anorexia nervosa
Authors: Isobe, Masanori  kyouindb  KAKEN_id
Kawabata, Michiko
Murao, Ema
Noda, Tomomi
Matsukawa, Noriko
Kawada, Ryosaku
Uwatoko, Teruhisa  kyouindb  KAKEN_id  orcid (unconfirmed)
Murai, Toshiya
Noma, Shun'ichi
Takahashi, Hidehiko
Author's alias: 磯部, 昌憲
川端, 美智子
村尾, 英真
野田, 智美
川田, 良作
上床, 輝久
村井, 俊哉
野間, 俊一
高橋, 英彦
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa
Ultimatum game
Issue Date: 6-Dec-2018
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Journal title: BioPsychoSocial Medicine
Volume: 12
Thesis number: 19
Abstract: Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) patients are assumed to express high levels of guilt and envy. Ultimatum game (UG) is a standard behavioral task that focuses on interpersonal behavior when splitting a sum of money between two players. UG studies consistently demonstrate that people tend to decrease their inequity in outcomes, one explanation being that economically irrational decision-making may partly arise from the emotions guilt and envy. We assumed that AN patients would perform excessively fair in UG, reflecting high guilt and envy. Methods: We utilized UG to investigate the characteristics of guilt and envy among 24 Japanese AN patients and 22 age-matched healthy controls (HC). The relation between the outcome of UG and decision strategy confirmed by post-experimental questionnaires was analyzed. Results: As proposer, AN offered a larger amount to the responder compared with HC (p = 0.002) while, on the other hand, as responder, AN demanded much higher allocation to accept the offer compared with HC (p = 0.026). Regarding the strategy as responder, AN put more emphasis on fairness and less emphasis on monetary reward compared with HC (p = 0.046, p = 0.042, respectively). Conclusions: The results indicate that Japanese AN patients demonstrate strong preference for fairness, with high guilt and high envy. High sensitivity to guilt and envy of AN patients can affect not only their own behavior concerning eating attitude and body shape, but also decision-making in interpersonal situations. Behavioral experimental settings among social situations will enable us to evaluate and help actual decision-making in the real life of patients.
Rights: © The Author(s). 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI(Published Version): 10.1186/s13030-018-0138-8
PubMed ID: 30534196
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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