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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00199

Neural sensitivity to social and monetary reward in depression: Clarifying general and domain-specific deficits

 Belel Ait Oumeziane1*, Olivia Jones1 and  Dan Foti1
  • 1Purdue University, United States

Reward dysfunction is thought to be play a critical role in the pathogenesis of depression. Multiple studies have linked depression to abnormal neural sensitivity to monetary rewards, but it remains unclear whether this reward dysfunction is generalizable to other rewards types. The current study begins to address this gap by assessing abnormal sensitivity to both monetary and social rewards in relation to depressive symptoms. We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) during two incentive delay tasks, one with monetary reward and one with social reward. Both tasks were administered within the same sample, enabling a direct comparison of reward types. ERPs elicited by social and nonsocial rewards were morphologically similar across several stages of processing: cue salience, outcome anticipation, early outcome evaluation, outcome salience. Moderation analyses showed depression was linked with a pattern of general deficits across social and monetary rewards, specifically for the stages of outcome anticipation (stimulus-preceding negativity) and outcome salience (feedback-P3); self-reported reward sensitivity was generally associated with early outcome evaluation (reward positivity). Regression analyses modeling task-specific variance, however, showed a unique association between depression and outcome salience for social rewards, controlling for monetary rewards. The findings from this study underscore the importance of assessing neural sensitivity to multiple reward types in depression, particularly social reward. Characterizing the profile of reward functioning in depression across reward types may help to link laboratory-based deficits to relatively global versus focal difficulties in real-world functioning.

Keywords: social reward, monetary reward, Depression, reward processing, Event - Related Potentials (ERP)

Received: 15 Mar 2019; Accepted: 13 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Ait Oumeziane, Jones and Foti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Belel Ait Oumeziane, Purdue University, West Lafayette, United States,