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

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60. Social Versus Non-Social Reward Learning in Schizophrenia

Social cognitive deficits are a hallmark of schizophrenia and related to functional disability. Failure to learn from social feedback may critically impair learning of appropriate social interactions. Deficits in monetary reward learning are seen in schizophrenia and are related to decreased motivation and pleasure. However, little is known about social reward learning in schizophrenia. We assessed learning from positive or negative feedback in structurally identical social and monetary learning tasks. Results showed that controls achieved similar performance on the social and monetary tasks, and that patients were able to perform above chance. There was a significant Group X Reward interaction, with patients showing greater impairment on social than monetary reward learning versus controls. Patients and controls did not differ in ability to recognize emotions in the task or in preferences for faces. Patients showed significantly greater anhedonia on the Chapman Physical Anhedonia scale compared to controls, though better social reward learning was related to lower anhedonia in controls, but not patients. Results support previous studies showing reward learning deficits in schizophrenia and extend these findings to social reward learning. Patients appear more impaired at social than non-social reward learning. As such, social reward learning may be a novel intervention target.

Julia Ermel
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Deanna Barch
Washington University in St. Louis

Stephanie Histon
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Tarek Sobieh
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Pamela Butler
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and New York University School of Medicine


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