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Neuroreport. 2010 Jan 27;21(2):143-7. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283356448.

State sadness reduces neural sensitivity to nonrewards versus rewards.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-2500, USA.


Both behavioral and neural evidence suggests that depression is associated with reduced sensitivity to rewards. Using the feedback negativity, a neural index of reward processing, an earlier study showed that depressive symptoms experienced over the previous week were associated with less differentiation between nonrewards and rewards in a gambling task. To directly test whether variability in state mood related to similar effects on neural correlates of reward, this study recorded the feedback negativity in individuals assigned to either a neutral or sad mood induction. Following the induction, individuals reporting greater sadness exhibited a reduced feedback negativity. This finding indicates that fluctuation in state negative affect moderates how environmental feedback is processed by reducing neural sensitivity to nonrewards versus rewards.

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