Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 300–308 | Cite as

Anhedonic symptoms of depression are linked to reduced motivation to obtain a reward

  • Jessica Franzen
  • Kerstin Brinkmann
Original Paper


People with depression report reduced motivation to obtain a reward and reduced affective responses to reward. However, studies focusing on the relation between anhedonia and deficits in reward processing are scarce. Furthermore, studies investigating wanting through cardiovascular reactivity and liking through facial electromyography in human beings are also scarce. In this study, we used the Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scale score as a continuous predictor variable of anhedonia and we manipulated two within-person conditions (wanting vs. liking). Participants earned money if their performance on a memory task exceeded a particular standard. As expected, effort-related cardiovascular reactivity and self-reports during the anticipatory phase were lower for participants scoring high on anhedonia. Moreover, task performance outcomes were worse for highly anhedonic participants. However, the zygomaticus major muscle’s activity during the consummatory phase was unrelated to the anhedonia score. The present study underlines the importance of anhedonic symptoms, particularly in reduced anticipatory motivation to obtain a reward.


Anhedonia Depression Reward wanting and liking Cardiovascular reactivity Muscular reactivity 



Jessica Franzen, Kerstin Brinkmann, Geneva Motivation Lab, University of Geneva, Switzerland. This research was supported by a research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF 100014-134557) awarded to the second author. Parts of the present research were presented at the 26th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA, May 23–25, 2014.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geneva Motivation Lab, FPSE, Department of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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