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Neural Reward Processing and MVPR in Adolescent Depression and Depression Treatments

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Psychiatric disorders such as depression have been shown to have dysfunctional reward systems thought to underlie the symptom of anhedonia in depression. Anhedonia is one of the main symptoms of depression and is thought to be a biomarker as it predates the onset and can persist into recovery. In a previous study we have shown that those who are recovered from depression have reduced response to reward (McCabe et al., 2009) and that young people with a family history of depression also have deficits in how they process rewarding information at the neural level (McCabe et al., 2010). Further we have recently shown that adolescents with clinical depression have reduced neural responses to reward and aversion (Rzepa et al., 2017, 2017) suggesting these processes as targets for treatment. In this study we aim to examine in the brain, with fMRI and using multivariate pattern recognition (MVPR), the effects of current low mood in adolescents before the onset of a major depressive episode and examine if deficits in how they process reward is predictive of future depressive episodes. We are also interested to know if there are differences in ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’ aspects of reward by giving people an experiment involving chocolate. By examining if there are differences in reward responses of wanting and liking we can begin to develop better treatments for reward related symptoms in psychiatric disorders.

Funding Notes

BSc (First Class or 2.1) in Psychology, Neuroscience or a related and relevant discipline


How good is research at University of Reading in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.15

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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