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Neuropsychology. 2016 Mar;30(3):274-80. doi: 10.1037/neu0000233. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

Distinct processing of social and monetary rewards in late adolescents with trait anhedonia.

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Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
MRI Center, Hospital 306.
Department of Psychology, University of California.
Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE & STCSM), School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University.
Castle Peak Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.



Anticipatory and consummatory dissociation of hedonic experience may manifest as trait anhedonia in healthy and clinical populations. It is still unclear whether the underlying neural mechanisms of the monetary-based and affect-based incentive delay paradigms are distinct from each other. The present study aimed to examine the similarities and differences between the Affect Incentive Delay (AID) and the Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) imaging paradigms in relation to brain activations.


We administered the AID and the MID imaging tasks to 28 adolescent participants. A cue signaling the type of forthcoming feedback (reward or punishment) was displayed to the participants, followed by a target-hit task with corresponding reward or punishment.


The striatal and limbic regions were activated during the anticipatory phase of MID, while there was no brain activation during the anticipatory phase of AID. In the consummatory phase, the MID task activated the medial frontal cortex, while the AID task activated the frontal and dorsal limbic regions. We further found that the anhedonic group exhibited significant hypoactivation than the nonanhedonic group at the left pulvinar, the left claustrum and the left insula to positive cues in the anticipatory phase of the AID task.


The results suggest that the AID and the MID tasks have unique activation patterns. Our findings also suggest that the AID task may be more sensitive in detecting anhedonia in people with trait anhedonia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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