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Measuring anhedonia: impaired ability to pursue, experience, and learn about reward.

Thomsen KR - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Successful translations of animal models have led to strong evidence of impairments in the ability to pursue and learn about reward in psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction.It is of high importance that we continue to systematically target impairments in all phases of reward processing across disorders using behavioral testing in combination with neuroimaging techniques.This in turn has implications for diagnosis and treatment, and is essential for the purposes of identifying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University , Aarhus C, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
Ribot's (1896) long standing definition of anhedonia as "the inability to experience pleasure" has been challenged recently following progress in affective neuroscience. In particular, accumulating evidence suggests that reward consists of multiple subcomponents of wanting, liking and learning, as initially outlined by Berridge and Robinson (2003), and these processes have been proposed to relate to appetitive, consummatory and satiety phases of a pleasure cycle. Building on this work, we recently proposed to reconceptualize anhedonia as "impairments in the ability to pursue, experience, and/or learn about pleasure, which is often, but not always accessible to conscious awareness." (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015). This framework is in line with Treadway and Zald's (2011) proposal to differentiate between motivational and consummatory types of anhedonia, and stresses the need to combine traditional self-report measures with behavioral measures or procedures. In time, this approach may lead to improved clinical assessment and treatment. In line with our reconceptualization, increasing evidence suggests that reward processing deficits are not restricted to impaired hedonic impact in major psychiatric disorders. Successful translations of animal models have led to strong evidence of impairments in the ability to pursue and learn about reward in psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction. It is of high importance that we continue to systematically target impairments in all phases of reward processing across disorders using behavioral testing in combination with neuroimaging techniques. This in turn has implications for diagnosis and treatment, and is essential for the purposes of identifying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Here I review recent progress in the development and application of behavioral procedures that measure subcomponents of anhedonia across relevant patient groups, and discuss methodological caveats as well as implications for assessment and treatment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Measuring anhedonia. (A) Anhedonia is linked to problems with the complex and multifaceted psychological processes involved in reward processing. These include explicit processes of wanting, liking, and learning that are consciously perceived, and their implicit counterparts (denoted with quotation marks in the text) that are potentially unconscious, i.e., they can operate at a level not always accessible to conscious awareness. These components constantly interact and require careful scientific analysis to tease apart. Animal studies have provided measurements or behavioral procedures that are especially sensitive markers of each of the potentially unconscious processes (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”). Recently, some of these procedures have been successfully translated to human studies, thereby providing more objective behavioral measures to aid subjective self-report measures. In particular, recent developments of behavioral measures of “wanting” and “learning” are promising, while bias-free measures of “liking” reactions in humans have proven more difficult. (B,C) Examples of how a measure of “wanting” has been successfully translated from animal to human studies. (B) In animal studies, “wanting” can be measured by looking at how willing the animal is to exert effort in exchange for more palatable food rewards, for example by using a choice paradigm devised to look at effort-based decision-making (Salamone et al., 1994). (C) In human studies, “wanting” can be measured similarly, by looking at how much a participant is willing to work for a reward, for example by combining salient stimuli with key-press/force-grip procedures. The first study of this kind used key-presses to operationalize “wanting” as the effort participants exerted to increase or decrease viewing time of images of salient faces on a screen (Aharon et al., 2001). OFC, orbitofrontal cortex; ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; vmPFC, ventromedial prefrontal cortex; NAc, nucleus accumbens; PAG, periaqueductal gray; VP, ventral pallidum; VTA, ventral tegmental area; ACh, Acetylcholine; PIT, pavlovian instrumental transfer; EEfRT, effort expenditure for rewards task. Figure and figure legend modified and reprinted with permission from Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015).
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Figure 1: Measuring anhedonia. (A) Anhedonia is linked to problems with the complex and multifaceted psychological processes involved in reward processing. These include explicit processes of wanting, liking, and learning that are consciously perceived, and their implicit counterparts (denoted with quotation marks in the text) that are potentially unconscious, i.e., they can operate at a level not always accessible to conscious awareness. These components constantly interact and require careful scientific analysis to tease apart. Animal studies have provided measurements or behavioral procedures that are especially sensitive markers of each of the potentially unconscious processes (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”). Recently, some of these procedures have been successfully translated to human studies, thereby providing more objective behavioral measures to aid subjective self-report measures. In particular, recent developments of behavioral measures of “wanting” and “learning” are promising, while bias-free measures of “liking” reactions in humans have proven more difficult. (B,C) Examples of how a measure of “wanting” has been successfully translated from animal to human studies. (B) In animal studies, “wanting” can be measured by looking at how willing the animal is to exert effort in exchange for more palatable food rewards, for example by using a choice paradigm devised to look at effort-based decision-making (Salamone et al., 1994). (C) In human studies, “wanting” can be measured similarly, by looking at how much a participant is willing to work for a reward, for example by combining salient stimuli with key-press/force-grip procedures. The first study of this kind used key-presses to operationalize “wanting” as the effort participants exerted to increase or decrease viewing time of images of salient faces on a screen (Aharon et al., 2001). OFC, orbitofrontal cortex; ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; vmPFC, ventromedial prefrontal cortex; NAc, nucleus accumbens; PAG, periaqueductal gray; VP, ventral pallidum; VTA, ventral tegmental area; ACh, Acetylcholine; PIT, pavlovian instrumental transfer; EEfRT, effort expenditure for rewards task. Figure and figure legend modified and reprinted with permission from Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015).

Mentions: The parsing of reward into wanting, liking and learning components was originally introduced by Robinson and Berridge (1993) in their influential incentive sensitization theory of drug addiction. The theory has received support in animal and human studies of drug addiction (Vezina and Leyton, 2009; Leyton and Vezina, 2013) and recently also in terms of behavioral addiction like Gambling Disorder (Leyton and Vezina, 2012; Rømer Thomsen et al., 2014). In Robinson and Berridge’s taxonomy they differentiate between core reactions that are not necessarily conscious (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”) and their conscious counterparts (wanting, liking, and learning, i.e., denoted without quotation marks; Berridge and Robinson, 2003; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008). In other words, reward can be parsed into three main components—motivation, hedonic impact and learning—and each of these components consist of both conscious and unconscious subcomponents (see Figure 1A). For example, motivation consists of “(1) core incentive salience “wanting” processes that are not necessarily conscious (e.g., cue-triggered “wanting” for food or drugs) and (2) conscious desires for incentives or cognitive goals” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2). Hedonic impact consists of “(1) core “liking” reactions that need not necessarily be conscious and (2) conscious experiences of pleasure, in the ordinary sense of the word, which may be elaborated out of core “liking” reactions by brain mechanisms of awareness” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2). Similarly, learning (or learned predictions) include “(1) implicit knowledge as well as associative conditioning, such as basic pavlovian and instrumental associations and (2) explicit and cognitive predictions” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2).


Measuring anhedonia: impaired ability to pursue, experience, and learn about reward.

Thomsen KR - Front Psychol (2015)

Measuring anhedonia. (A) Anhedonia is linked to problems with the complex and multifaceted psychological processes involved in reward processing. These include explicit processes of wanting, liking, and learning that are consciously perceived, and their implicit counterparts (denoted with quotation marks in the text) that are potentially unconscious, i.e., they can operate at a level not always accessible to conscious awareness. These components constantly interact and require careful scientific analysis to tease apart. Animal studies have provided measurements or behavioral procedures that are especially sensitive markers of each of the potentially unconscious processes (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”). Recently, some of these procedures have been successfully translated to human studies, thereby providing more objective behavioral measures to aid subjective self-report measures. In particular, recent developments of behavioral measures of “wanting” and “learning” are promising, while bias-free measures of “liking” reactions in humans have proven more difficult. (B,C) Examples of how a measure of “wanting” has been successfully translated from animal to human studies. (B) In animal studies, “wanting” can be measured by looking at how willing the animal is to exert effort in exchange for more palatable food rewards, for example by using a choice paradigm devised to look at effort-based decision-making (Salamone et al., 1994). (C) In human studies, “wanting” can be measured similarly, by looking at how much a participant is willing to work for a reward, for example by combining salient stimuli with key-press/force-grip procedures. The first study of this kind used key-presses to operationalize “wanting” as the effort participants exerted to increase or decrease viewing time of images of salient faces on a screen (Aharon et al., 2001). OFC, orbitofrontal cortex; ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; vmPFC, ventromedial prefrontal cortex; NAc, nucleus accumbens; PAG, periaqueductal gray; VP, ventral pallidum; VTA, ventral tegmental area; ACh, Acetylcholine; PIT, pavlovian instrumental transfer; EEfRT, effort expenditure for rewards task. Figure and figure legend modified and reprinted with permission from Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585007&req=5

Figure 1: Measuring anhedonia. (A) Anhedonia is linked to problems with the complex and multifaceted psychological processes involved in reward processing. These include explicit processes of wanting, liking, and learning that are consciously perceived, and their implicit counterparts (denoted with quotation marks in the text) that are potentially unconscious, i.e., they can operate at a level not always accessible to conscious awareness. These components constantly interact and require careful scientific analysis to tease apart. Animal studies have provided measurements or behavioral procedures that are especially sensitive markers of each of the potentially unconscious processes (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”). Recently, some of these procedures have been successfully translated to human studies, thereby providing more objective behavioral measures to aid subjective self-report measures. In particular, recent developments of behavioral measures of “wanting” and “learning” are promising, while bias-free measures of “liking” reactions in humans have proven more difficult. (B,C) Examples of how a measure of “wanting” has been successfully translated from animal to human studies. (B) In animal studies, “wanting” can be measured by looking at how willing the animal is to exert effort in exchange for more palatable food rewards, for example by using a choice paradigm devised to look at effort-based decision-making (Salamone et al., 1994). (C) In human studies, “wanting” can be measured similarly, by looking at how much a participant is willing to work for a reward, for example by combining salient stimuli with key-press/force-grip procedures. The first study of this kind used key-presses to operationalize “wanting” as the effort participants exerted to increase or decrease viewing time of images of salient faces on a screen (Aharon et al., 2001). OFC, orbitofrontal cortex; ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; vmPFC, ventromedial prefrontal cortex; NAc, nucleus accumbens; PAG, periaqueductal gray; VP, ventral pallidum; VTA, ventral tegmental area; ACh, Acetylcholine; PIT, pavlovian instrumental transfer; EEfRT, effort expenditure for rewards task. Figure and figure legend modified and reprinted with permission from Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015).
Mentions: The parsing of reward into wanting, liking and learning components was originally introduced by Robinson and Berridge (1993) in their influential incentive sensitization theory of drug addiction. The theory has received support in animal and human studies of drug addiction (Vezina and Leyton, 2009; Leyton and Vezina, 2013) and recently also in terms of behavioral addiction like Gambling Disorder (Leyton and Vezina, 2012; Rømer Thomsen et al., 2014). In Robinson and Berridge’s taxonomy they differentiate between core reactions that are not necessarily conscious (“wanting,” “liking,” and “learning”) and their conscious counterparts (wanting, liking, and learning, i.e., denoted without quotation marks; Berridge and Robinson, 2003; Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008). In other words, reward can be parsed into three main components—motivation, hedonic impact and learning—and each of these components consist of both conscious and unconscious subcomponents (see Figure 1A). For example, motivation consists of “(1) core incentive salience “wanting” processes that are not necessarily conscious (e.g., cue-triggered “wanting” for food or drugs) and (2) conscious desires for incentives or cognitive goals” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2). Hedonic impact consists of “(1) core “liking” reactions that need not necessarily be conscious and (2) conscious experiences of pleasure, in the ordinary sense of the word, which may be elaborated out of core “liking” reactions by brain mechanisms of awareness” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2). Similarly, learning (or learned predictions) include “(1) implicit knowledge as well as associative conditioning, such as basic pavlovian and instrumental associations and (2) explicit and cognitive predictions” (Berridge and Kringelbach, 2008, p. 2).

Bottom Line: Successful translations of animal models have led to strong evidence of impairments in the ability to pursue and learn about reward in psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction.It is of high importance that we continue to systematically target impairments in all phases of reward processing across disorders using behavioral testing in combination with neuroimaging techniques.This in turn has implications for diagnosis and treatment, and is essential for the purposes of identifying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University , Aarhus C, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
Ribot's (1896) long standing definition of anhedonia as "the inability to experience pleasure" has been challenged recently following progress in affective neuroscience. In particular, accumulating evidence suggests that reward consists of multiple subcomponents of wanting, liking and learning, as initially outlined by Berridge and Robinson (2003), and these processes have been proposed to relate to appetitive, consummatory and satiety phases of a pleasure cycle. Building on this work, we recently proposed to reconceptualize anhedonia as "impairments in the ability to pursue, experience, and/or learn about pleasure, which is often, but not always accessible to conscious awareness." (Rømer Thomsen et al., 2015). This framework is in line with Treadway and Zald's (2011) proposal to differentiate between motivational and consummatory types of anhedonia, and stresses the need to combine traditional self-report measures with behavioral measures or procedures. In time, this approach may lead to improved clinical assessment and treatment. In line with our reconceptualization, increasing evidence suggests that reward processing deficits are not restricted to impaired hedonic impact in major psychiatric disorders. Successful translations of animal models have led to strong evidence of impairments in the ability to pursue and learn about reward in psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction. It is of high importance that we continue to systematically target impairments in all phases of reward processing across disorders using behavioral testing in combination with neuroimaging techniques. This in turn has implications for diagnosis and treatment, and is essential for the purposes of identifying the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Here I review recent progress in the development and application of behavioral procedures that measure subcomponents of anhedonia across relevant patient groups, and discuss methodological caveats as well as implications for assessment and treatment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus