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Presentation Master's Thesis - Floor Zachariasse - Clinical Neuropsychology

Last modified on 20-10-2022
The influence of Bipolar Disorder on Reward Processing
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Start date
03-11-2022 13:00
End date
03-11-2022 14:00

Roeterseilandcampus -Building G


Roetersstraat 11 



Please be aware, this presentation will be in Dutch!

Psychiatric disorders are characterized by disruptions in reward processing. Although hypersensitivity in the reward system has been discovered in bipolar disorder, little is known about the behavioural aspect of this phenomenon. The current study sought to determine whether having a bipolar disorder diagnosis influenced reward sensitivity during reward anticipation. Additionally, the effects of experiencing psychotic symptoms on this association were investigated. This cross-sectional study made use of the Monetary Incentive Delay Task (MID), in which the accuracy and reaction times during reward anticipation were monitored. Subjects included 37 bipolar I patients and 27 controls, who were recruited from two previous studies about bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Subjects were motivated through the promise of a performance-dependent gift voucher. 

According to our findings, bipolar patients do not appear to be more sensitive to rewards during reward anticipation as compared to controls. Furthermore, when compared to controls, bipolar patients performed slightly worse in terms of reaction times in both types of trials, implying that bipolar patients may have longer reaction times due to cognitive deficits. Finally, our findings show that the severity of psychosis, as well as the severity of positive and negative symptoms, do not appear to make bipolar patients less sensitive to rewards during task performance. However, there was a cautious indication of a link between the severity of positive psychotic symptoms and reward sensitivity during reward anticipation. Future research should therefore concentrate on elucidating this link.