Scientific article
Open access

Reward-dependent modulation of working memory is associated with negative symptoms in schizophrenia

Published inSchizophrenia Research, vol. 168, no. 1-2, p. 238-244
Publication date2015

The negative symptoms of schizophrenia have been associated with altered neural activity during both reward processing and cognitive processing. Even though increasing evidence suggests a strong interaction between these two domains, it has not been studied in relation to negative symptoms. To elucidate neural mechanisms of the reward-cognition interaction, we applied a letter variant of the n-back working memory task and varied the financial incentives for performance. In the interaction contrast, we found a significantly activated cluster in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the middle frontal gyrus, and the bilateral superior frontal gyrus. The interaction did not differ significantly between the patient group and a healthy control group, suggesting that patients with schizophrenia are on average able to integrate reward information and utilize this information to maximize cognitive performance. However within the patient group, we found a significant inverse correlation of ACC activity with the factor diminished expression. This finding is consistent with the model that a lack of available cognitive resources leads to diminished expression. We therefore argue that patients with diminished expression have difficulties in recruiting additional cognitive resources (as implemented in the ACC) in response to an anticipated reward. Due to this lack of cognitive resources, less processing capacity is available for effective expression, resulting in diminished expressive behavior.

  • Adult
  • Anticipation
  • Psychological/physiology
  • Brain/physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Short-Term/physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders/physiopathology/psychology
  • Reward
  • Schizophrenia/physiopathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
HAGER, Oliver M et al. Reward-dependent modulation of working memory is associated with negative symptoms in schizophrenia. In: Schizophrenia Research, 2015, vol. 168, n° 1-2, p. 238–244. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.08.024
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0920-9964

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