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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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31. Does functional connectivity within the default mode network predict individual differences in anticipatory and consummatory social pleasure?

Background: Social anhedonia is a well-established symptom of schizophrenia, but its etiology remains unknown. Though extant studies have connected anhedonia to anticipatory pleasure deficits, little is known about the neural basis of these deficits, besides those localized to the reward system. Here, we test whether deficits in social prospective simulation (i.e., “pre-experiencing” future social interactions), indexed by default mode network (DMN) functioning, explains individual differences in anticipatory and consummatory social pleasure.

Methods: Healthy adults underwent fMRI scanning while at rest. We characterized functional connectivity within subsystems of the DMN. Social pleasure was measured outside of the scanner using the Anticipatory and Consummatory Interpersonal Pleasure Scale (ACIPS).

Results: Connectivity between certain subsystems of the DMN were positively associated with anticipatory/consummatory pleasure. Of these relations, DMN hubs (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex) explained more variance in social pleasure than the other DMN subsystems.

Conclusions: Together, these data suggest that social simulation may underlie deficits in social pleasure and may ultimately serve as an area of intervention towards alleviating social anhedonia.

Bridget Shovestul
University of Rochester

David Dodell-Feder
University of Rochester


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