Does Anhedonia in Schizophrenia Reflect Faulty Memory for Subjectively Experienced Emotions?

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Abstract

The authors evaluated whether self-reported trait anhedonia in schizophrenia reflects faulty memory, such that patients are capable of experiencing pleasure while engaged in enjoyable activities but underestimate their pleasure in recalling these experiences. Thirty schizophrenia patients and 31 nonpatient control participants rated their emotional responses to pleasant and neutral foods and film clips and completed a surprise recall task for their emotions after a 4-hr delay. Despite reporting elevated trait anhedonia, patients did not significantly differ from control participants in immediate pleasant emotional responses to the stimuli or in delayed recall for these experiences. In-the-moment pleasure and short-term retention for emotional experiences thus appear to be relatively intact in schizophrenia. Alternative explanations for the hedonic deficit in this disorder are discussed.

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