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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019 Aug 31;14(8):899-909. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz062.

Aberrant reward dynamics in trait anticipatory anhedonia.

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Department of Psychology, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China.


As a cardinal feature of several psychiatric disorders, anhedonia includes a consummatory component (deficits in hedonic response to rewards) and an anticipatory component (a reduced motivation to pursue them). Although being conceptualized as impairments of reward system, the neural characterization of reward processing in anhedonia is hampered by the enormous heterogeneity in the reward phase ('wanting' vs 'liking') and comorbidity (inherent to disease states). The current event-related potential (ERP) study examined the reward dynamics of anticipatory anhedonia in a non-clinical sample. Anticipatory and consummatory ERP components were assessed with a monetary incentive delay task in a high anticipatory anhedonia (HAA) group and a low anticipatory anhedonia (LAA) group. HAA vs LAA group showed a diminished reward-related speeding during behavioral performance and reported overall reduced positive affect during anticipation and receipt of outcomes. Importantly, neural dynamics underlying reward processing were negatively associated with anticipatory anhedonia across the anticipatory phase indexed by the contingent negative variation and the consummatory phase indexed by the feedback P3. Our results suggest that anticipatory anhedonia in non-clinical individuals is linked to a poor modulation during both anticipatory and consummatory phases of reward processing.


anticipatory anhedonia; event-related potentials; reward dynamics

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