Appetitive motivation in depressive anhedonia: Effects of piece-rate cash rewards on cardiac and behavioral outcomes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kari Eddington (Creator)
Thomas R. Kwapil, Associate Professor (Creator)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Deficits in self-regulation and motivation are central to depression. Using motivational intensity theory (Brehm & Self, 1989), the present research examined how depressive anhedonia influences effort during a piece-rate appetitive task. In piece-rate tasks, people can work at their own pace and are rewarded for each correct response, so they can gain rewards more quickly by expending more effort. A sample of community adults (n = 78) was evaluated for depressive anhedonia using a structured clinical interview, yielding depressive anhedonia and control groups. Participants completed a self-paced cognitive task, and each correct response yielded a cash reward (3 cents or 15 cents, manipulated within-person). Using impedance cardiography, effort-related physiological activity was assessed via the cardiac pre-ejection period (PEP). The results indicated lower reward responsiveness in the anhedonia group. Compared to the control group, the depressive anhedonia group showed significantly less baseline-to-task change in PEP, and they performed marginally worse on the task. The experiment supports the predictions made by applying motivational intensity theory to depression and offers a useful paradigm for evaluating anhedonic effects on effort while people are striving for appealing rewards.

Additional Information

Motivation Science
Language: English
Date: 2019
depression, anhedonia, effort, motivation, reward

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