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Examining Associations Between Psychosis Risk, Social Anhedonia, and Performance of Striatum-Related Behavioral Tasks


Both psychosis and anhedonia have been associated to some extent with striatal functioning. The current study examined whether either psychosis risk or social anhedonia was associated with performance on 3 tasks related to striatal functioning. Psychosis risk participants had extremely elevated Perceptual Aberration/Magical Ideation (PerMag) scores (n = 69), with 43% of psychosis risk participants also having semistructured interview-assessed psychotic-like experiences which further heightens their risk of psychotic disorder (Chapman, Chapman, Kwapil, Eckblad, & Zinser, 1994). Compared with both extremely elevated social anhedonia (n = 60) and control (n = 68) groups, the PerMag group exhibited poorer performance on 2 of the striatum-related tasks, the Weather Prediction Task (WPT) and the Learned Irrelevance Paradigm, but not on Finger Tapping. In addition, PerMag participants with psychotic-like experiences were especially impaired on the WPT. Overall, this study arguably provides the first evidence that psychosis risk but not social anhedonia is associated with performance on the WPT, a task thought to be strongly associated with activation in the associative striatum, and also suggests that the WPT might be especially useful as a behavioral measure of psychosis risk.

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