Blunted Reward Processing in Remitted Melancholic Depression

Anna Weinberg, Stewart A Shankman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Blunted reward response appears to be a trait-like marker of vulnerability for major depressive disorder (MDD). As such, it should be present in remitted individuals; however, depression is a heterogeneous syndrome. Reward-related impairments may be more pronounced in individuals with melancholic depression. The present study examined neural responses to rewards in remitted melancholic depression (rMD; n = 29), remitted nonmelancholic depression (rNMD; n = 56), and healthy controls (HC; n = 81). Event-related potentials to monetary gain and loss were recorded during a simple gambling paradigm. Relative to both the HC and the rNMD groups, who did not differ from one another, rMD was characterized by a blunted response to rewards. Moreover, the rMD and rNMD groups did not differ in course or severity of their past illnesses, or current depressive symptoms or functioning. Results suggest that blunted response to rewards may be a viable vulnerability marker for melancholic depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • depression
  • melancholia
  • reward processing
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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