Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1504–1509 | Cite as

Brief Report: Selective Social Anhedonia in High Functioning Autism

  • Coralie ChevallierEmail author
  • Julie Grèzes
  • Catherine Molesworth
  • Sylvie Berthoz
  • Francesca Happé
Brief Report


Diminished social motivation is one of the most striking features in autism. Yet, few studies have directly assessed the value people with an ASD place on social interactions, or how rewarding they report it to be. In the present study, we directly measure social motivation by looking at responses to a questionnaire assessing self-reported pleasure in social and non social situations. Twenty-nine adolescents with ASD and matched controls took part in the study. Our results reveal that children with an ASD differ from the controls with respect to social enjoyment, but not with respect to physical and other sources of hedonism. Further analyses demonstrate that the degree of social anhedonia correlates with autism severity.


Anhedonia Social motivation Autism spectrum disorders Social anhedonia Social interest 



FH and CC were supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant code RES-000-22-3136]. CM was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant code PTA-026-27-2226]. CC, JG and SB were supported by the “Fondation pour la Recherche Psychiatrique et la Santé Mentale” and the “Orange Foundation”. The authors also wish to warmly thank children and staff who took part in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Coralie Chevallier
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • Julie Grèzes
    • 3
  • Catherine Molesworth
    • 1
  • Sylvie Berthoz
    • 4
  • Francesca Happé
    • 1
  1. 1.Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (MRC), Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Center for Autism ResearchChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory for Cognitive Neurosciences, INSERM U960Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  4. 4.Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, INSERM U669ParisFrance
  5. 5.Center for Autism ResearchChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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