Anhedonia and Adolescent Depression

We are interested in the symptom of anhedonia in young people the depression symptoms

Department: Psychology

Supervised by: Ciara Mccabe

The Placement Project

Anhedonia and Adolescent Depression Adolescence is a period of change that crucially increases vulnerability to depression. Studies report blunted neural responses to reward that relate to positive affect and depression symptoms in adolescents. However how these results relate to the symptom of anhedonia in adolescents is not entirely clear. We have been examining how the brain responds to reward and aversion in those at risk of depression and adolescents with depression and anhedonia symptoms. In this placement we will use an fMRI task measuring the different components of reward and aversion processing such as the anticipation and consummation of reward. More recently we have also begun to measure effort for reward as a proxy for motivational deficits in depression. This work will examine if there are blunted brain responses to reward and aversion in adolescents with symptoms of depression. We will also examine if there is reduced physical effort for reward in those with symptoms compared to controls. Finally we also show how the dimensional experience of anhedonia correlates with neural responses and effort for reward and aversion in adolescents. We will address the shortcomings of the current literature on anhedonia in adolescent depression and show how the links between the experience of anhedonia in adolescent depression and the behavioural and neural measures of reward could be improved. The overall goal of this work is to provide novel treatment targets based on reward for adolescent depression.


we have developed over a number of years a task to examine reward anticipation, consummation and effort

Skills, knowledge and experience required

basic knowledge of depression symptoms and SSPS

Skills which will be developed during the placement

we will teach the student about depression research in adolescents and the future directions needed to develop new treatments

Place of Work

Psychology Building Reading University

Hours of Work

10am to 4pm

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Friday 01 May 2020 - Wednesday 01 July 2020

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 24th February and 3rd April 2020. Students should submit their CV and Cover Letter directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will then be invited to interview.

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