The relevance of reward pathways for schizophrenia.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: There has been a resurgence of interest in the field of reward processing in schizophrenia in recent years, aided by insights from functional neuroimaging. We examine how disturbances in reward-related processes relate to the pathophysiology and symptomatology of this disorder. RECENT FINDINGS: Behavioural and functional neuroimaging studies in psychosis demonstrate impairments in the representation of reward value and in reward-related learning and a failure to motivate behaviour for incentives. These impairments are linked to abnormal mesocorticolimbic and mesostriatal function. SUMMARY: Abnormalities in reward processing offer insights into the symptomatology of schizophrenia and its underlying neurobiology. Further investigation is required into the specificity of these deficits to particular symptom expression and to what extent they are improved by antipsychotic treatment.