Affective forecasting is the ability to predict future emotions, which is very important for optimal everyday life functioning. Empirical findings suggest that patients with schizophrenia exhibit reduced ability to predict future emotions which may affect their negative symptoms and ultimate functional ability. However, little is known about the pattern of affective forecasting in individuals at-risk for schizophrenia. More importantly, it is not clear whether the ability to predict future positive or negative emotions will be affected by the social information available in the environment.
In order to address this unclear issue, Dr. Raymond Chan's team from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has designed a study to examine the pattern of affective forecasting in social anhedonia individuals.
They developed a novel behavioral paradigm to manipulate the social effect and then explored the behavioral performance of social anhedonia individuals on affective forecasting in social and non-social condition.
Forty individuals with high level of social anhedonia and forty-six low level of social anhedonia completed the social affective forecasting task and underwent a resting-state functional imaging scan.
Their findings showed that individuals with high level of social anhedonia anticipated less pleasure than those individuals with low level of social anhedonia, especially in social conditions. High level social anhedonia individuals reported less visualization, voice, taste, self-referential thoughts, other-referential thoughts, and language communication, too.
Their findings also showed that more anticipated pleasure was correlated with higher levels of effort, especially in social conditions.
More interestingly, high level social anhedonia individuals showed increased functional connectivity between the retrosplenial cortex and the insula, and reduced functional connectivity between the hippocampal formation and the parahippocampus comparing to low level social anhedonia individuals.
These altered functional connectivities were correlated with anticipated valence in social, but not non-social conditions. Their findings suggest that social anhedonia individuals exhibit prospection impairment predominately in social conditions. These findings shed light onto the potential development of non-medical intervention for anhedonia and prospection in patients with schizophrenia and related disorders.
This study was supported by This study was supported by grants from the National Science Fund China, National Key Research and Development Programme, the Beijing Municipal Science, Technology Commission Grant and the Beijing Training Project for the Leading Talents in Science and Technology.
This study is now published online in Schizophrenia Research.
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