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52. Retinal Functioning and Reward Processing in Schizophrenia
Background: Studies of the retina using electroretinography (ERG) have demonstrated anomalies in retinal cell functioning in schizophrenia (SZ). In healthy controls (HCs), changes in retinal cell activity have been observed in response to a food reward. This study aimed to determine whether ERG amplitudes would provide sensitive indices of reduced reward sensitivity in people with SZ, given that impairments in reward processing have been well-documented in this population. Methods: Flash ERG data from 15 people with SZ and 15 HCs were collected under three conditions: baseline, anticipation of a food reward, and immediately after consuming the food reward. Results: In the HC group ERG responses varied as a function of salience of the food reward, but ERG responses did not vary significantly across conditions in the SZ group. ERG amplitudes were significantly correlated with scores on measures of hedonic capacity in both groups, and were related to motivation and pleasure negative symptom ratings in the SZ group. Discussion: These findings suggest that flash ERG amplitudes may be an indicator of altered reward sensitivity in SZ. However, further investigation is needed in order to replicate this finding and clarify the mechanisms involved in this effect.