Summary: People with schizophrenia and social anhedonia show altered neural processing of social reward processing, resulting in impaired social interaction and social dysfunction.
source: Chinese Academy of Sciences
Schizophrenia patients and individuals with social anhedonia have been shown to exhibit impaired social reward processing which ultimately leads to impaired social interaction and social dysfunctions.
However, most previous studies on social reward anticipation in schizophrenia spectrum disorders have been limited to behavioral design. It remains unclear whether the putative neural processing of social reward anticipation is altered in both individuals with schizophrenia and individuals with social anhedonia.
Recently, a research team led by Dr. Raymond Chan of the Institute of Psychology (IP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) conducted a study to specifically examine the neural mechanisms underlying social reward anticipation in this population.
The study was published in European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience On October 28.
The researchers recruited 23 subjects with schizophrenia and 17 healthy subjects, as well as 37 individuals with social anhedonia and 50 healthy controls to complete a social incentive delay imaging task during MRI brain scans.
They found that individuals with schizophrenia showed decreased activation of the left medial frontal gyrus and negative functional connections (FCs) with the left parietal regions.
However, individuals with social anhedonia showed excessive activation of the left middle frontal gyrus when anticipating social reward.
Furthermore, individuals with schizophrenia showed strong cerebellar-temporal FCs, whereas individuals with anhedonia showed strong FCs in the left frontal regions.
These results indicate that both schizophrenic and socially anhedonic individuals show altered neural processing for social reward anticipation, and such neural activities show poor correlation with social network properties in real life.
The study advances our understanding of the neural underpinnings of social drives in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
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“Altered neural mechanism of social reward anticipation in individuals with schizophrenia and anhedoniaWritten by Yi-jing Zhang et al. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Altered neural mechanism of social reward anticipation in individuals with schizophrenia and anhedonia
Altered social reward expectation can be found in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia (SA).
However, few researches have investigated the putative neural processing of altered social reward anticipation in this population of the SCZ spectrum.
This study aimed to examine the neural mechanisms underlying social reward anticipation in this population.
Twenty-three SCZ patients, 17 healthy controls (HC), 37 SA individuals and 50 respective health centers completed a Social Incentive Delay Imaging (SID) task during MRI brain scans.
We used group variance to examine alterations of BOLD activation and functional connectivity (FC, psychophysiological interactions analysis). We then characterized the beta-chain social brain network (SBN) based on results from NeuroSynth meta-analysis and examined the effects of its predictions on real-world social network (SN) properties using least squared partial regression analysis.
The results showed that SCZ patients showed hypo-activation of the left medial frontal gyrus and negative FCs with left parietal regions, while individuals with SA showed excessive activation of the left medial frontal gyrus when anticipating social reward. For the beta SBNs series, SCZ patients potentiated temporal cerebellar FCs, while SA individuals potentiated left frontal FCs. However, the FCs of the SBN failed to predict the properties of the realistic SN.
These preliminary findings indicate that SCZ patients and SA individuals show altered neural processing of social reward anticipation, and such neural activities showed a weak association with SN characteristics in real life.