Scientific article
Open access

Anhedonia and effort mobilization in dysphoria: Reduced cardiovascular response to reward and punishment☆

Published inInternational Journal of Psychophysiology, vol. 74, no. 3, p. 250-258
Publication date2009

Instigated by evidence for reduced responsiveness to reward in depression, the present two studies addressed the question if such anhedonic behavior would also become evident in reduced mobilization of mental effort in terms of cardiovascular reactivity. Undergraduates completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression Scale (CES-D) and worked on mental tasks, expecting either no consequence, a performance-contingent reward, or a performance-contingent punishment. Study 1 revealed that participants with low CES-D scores showed high systolic blood pressure reactivity in the punishment condition, whereas participants with high CES-D scores showed low systolic reactivity. Study 2 corroborated this finding for reward: Nondysphoric participants expecting a reward showed higher reactivity of systolic blood pressure and pre-ejection period than participants in the neutral condition or than dysphoric participants. Together, the studies demonstrate that reward insensitivity in (subclinical) depression is also found in cardiovascular reactivity. Furthermore, dysphoric individuals do not respond to punishment either, suggesting a general insensitivity to hedonic consequences.

  • Mood
  • Mood regulation
  • Resource mobilization
  • Effort
  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Facial electromyogram
Citation (ISO format)
BRINKMANN, Kerstin et al. Anhedonia and effort mobilization in dysphoria: Reduced cardiovascular response to reward and punishment☆. In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2009, vol. 74, n° 3, p. 250–258. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2009.09.009
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Article (Published version)
Article (Accepted version)

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