Rat models of reward deficits in psychiatric disorders

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

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Loss of interest in rewarding activities is a hallmark of many psychiatric disorders and may be relevant for neurodegenerative disorders and patients suffering from brain injury. There is increasing evidence that deficits in reward-related behaviour are more complex than previously described. The traditional view of anhedonia as ‘the inability to experience pleasure’ may be too limited to fully encompass the types of reward deficit observed in these patients. Developments in methods to measure different aspects of reward processing in humans and animals are starting to provide insights into the complexity of this behaviour. In this article we consider the rodent models which have traditionally been used to study reward deficits in psychiatric disorders and consider their limitations relative to clinical findings. We then discuss work where methods derived from human neuropsychological tests are providing insights into the complexity of reward-related behaviour. Specifically, we consider tasks which investigate different aspects of reward-related behaviour focusing on learning and memory as well as decision-making and consider what these may mean in terms of how we model reward deficits in rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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