Affective biases and their interaction with other reward-related deficits in rodent models of psychiatric disorders

Lucy Lewis, Abigail Benn, Dominic Dwyer, Emma Robinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the leading global causes of disability. Symptoms of MDD can vary person to person, and current treatments often fail to alleviate the poor quality of life that patients experience. One of the two, core diagnostic criteria for MDD is the loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, which suggests a link between the disease aetiology and reward processing. Cognitive impairments are also common in patients with MDD, and more recently, emotional processing deficits known as affective biases have been recognised as a key feature of the disorder. We consider affective biases in the context of other reward-related deficits and examine how affective biases associated with learning and memory may interact with the wider behavioural symptoms seen in MDD. We discuss recent developments in how analogues of affective biases and other aspects of reward processing can be assessed in rodents, as well as how these behaviours are influenced in models of MDD. We subsequently discuss evidence for the neurobiological mechanisms contributing to one or more reward-related deficits in preclinical models of MDD, identified using these behavioural assays. We also consider how the relationships between these selective behavioural assays and the neurobiological mechanisms for affective bias and reward processing could be used to identify potential treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112051
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Early online date2 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019


  • Depression
  • Animal models
  • Affective bias
  • Reward processing


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