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Abnormal reward functioning is central to anhedonia and amotivation symptoms of schizophrenia (SCZ). Reward processing encompasses a series of psychological components. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the brain dysfunction related to reward processing of individuals with SCZ spectrum disorders and risks, covering multiple reward components.
After a systematic literature search, 37 neuroimaging studies were identified and divided into four groups based on their target psychology components (i.e. reward anticipation, reward consumption, reward learning, effort computation). Whole-brain Seed-based d Mapping (SDM) meta-analyses were conducted for all included studies and each component.
The meta-analysis for all reward-related studies revealed reduced functional activation across the SCZ spectrum in the striatum, orbital frontal cortex, cingulate cortex, and cerebellar areas. Meanwhile, distinct abnormal patterns were found for reward anticipation (decreased activation of the cingulate cortex and striatum), reward consumption (decreased activation of cerebellum IV/V areas, insula and inferior frontal gyri), and reward learning processing (decreased activation of the striatum, thalamus, cerebellar Crus I, cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and parietal and occipital areas). Lastly, our qualitative review suggested that decreased activation of the ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex was also involved in effort computation.
These results provide deep insights on the component-based neuro-psychopathological mechanisms for anhedonia and amotivation symptoms of the SCZ spectrum.
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