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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2008 December;49(4):297-305

language: English

Reward processing in mood disorders

Poletti M.

Neurology Unit, Versilia Hospital, Lido Di Camaiore, Lucca, Italy Academy of Developmental Neuropsychology- AnSvi, Parma, Italy


Reward processing permits to establish if and how an environmental stimulus or a future goal is reinforcing or punishing for the subject. This process is at the basis of reinforcement learning and decision making; is principally based on the orbitofrontal cortex and its connections with the striatum and the limbic system. If a dysfunctional reward processing has been often reported in substance abusers or pathologic gamblers, recent studies reported a dysfunction of this process in patients with major depression and in patients with bipolar disorder. Experimental findings on a dysfunctional reward processing in these disorders are reviewed and discussed, in order to trace directions for future studies, that need to clarify if different dysfunctions are associated with different psychiatric disorders.

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