Amotivation in schizophrenia is assumed to involve dysfunctional dopaminergic signaling of reward prediction or anticipation. It is unclear, however, whether the translation of neural representation of reward value to behavioral drive is affected in schizophrenia. In order to examine how abnormal neural processing of response valuation and initiation affects incentive motivation in schizophrenia, we conducted functional MRI using a deterministic reinforcement learning task with variable intervals of contingency reversals in 20 clinically stable patients with schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls. Behaviorally, the advantage of positive over negative reinforcer in reinforcement-related responsiveness was not observed in patients. Patients showed altered response valuation and initiation-related striatal activity and deficient rostro-ventral anterior cingulate cortex activation during reward approach initiation. Among these neural abnormalities, rostro-ventral anterior cingulate cortex activation was correlated with positive reinforcement-related responsiveness in controls and social anhedonia and social amotivation subdomain scores in patients. Our findings indicate that the central role of the anterior cingulate cortex is in translating action value into driving force of action, and underscore the role of the cingulo-striatal network in amotivation in schizophrenia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry