Brains of pople with schizophrenia unresponsive to rewards

A new study has identified the neural mechanism that hinders reward identification and decision-making in people suffering from schizophrenia, highlighting the need for more effective drug therapies to help people with the disease manage their daily lives.

The study authors found that an area deep in the brain called the ventral striatum, which usually lights up with activity in response to rewards in healthy adults, was relatively unresponsive in people suffering from schizophrenia.

Reward responses are important in many areas of learning because they help us to redirect attention and behaviour towards things that are beneficial to us. The ventral striatum is connected to other parts of the brain that are important in decision making, planning and cognition and is, consequently, attracting increasing interest from researchers.

Researchers said healthy adults in the study had no trouble dealing with unpredictability, whereas people suffering from schizophrenia were not able to tell the difference between expected and unexpected rewards.

Read more at UNSW