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Dimensional anhedonia and the adolescent brain: reward and aversion anticipation, effort and consummation

Rzepa, E. and McCabe, C. (2019) Dimensional anhedonia and the adolescent brain: reward and aversion anticipation, effort and consummation. British Journal of Psychiatry. ISSN 2056-4724 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Given the heterogeneity of depression the Research Domain Criteria Framework suggests a dimensional approach to understanding the nature of mental illness. Neural reward function has been suggested as underpinning the symptom of anhedonia in depression but how anhedonia is related to aversion processing is unclear. We examined neural activity during reward and aversion processing in adolescents and emerging adults (N=84) in the age range 13-21yrs. Using a dimensional approach we examined how anhedonia and depression related to physical effort to gain reward or avoid aversion and neural activity during the anticipation, motivation/effort and consummation of reward and aversion. We show for the first time that as anhedonia increased physical effort to gain reward and avoid aversion decreased. Further that as anhedonia increased neural activity in the precuneus and insula (trend) decreased during effort to avoid and increased in the caudate during aversive consummation. Using a categorical approach we found participants with depression symptoms invested less physical effort to gain reward and avoid aversion than controls and had blunted neural anticipation of reward and aversion in the precuneus, insula, and prefrontal cortex and blunted neural activity during effort for reward in the putamen. We show for the first time that both physical effort and neural activity during effort correlate with anhedonia in adolescents and that amotivation might be a specific deficit of anhedonia irrespective of valence. Future work will assess if these neural mechanisms can be used to predict blunted approach and avoidance in adolescents at risk of depression.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:85802
Publisher:Royal College of Psychiatrists

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