The aim of this study was to investigate whether apathy in schizophrenia is associated with rigidity in behavior and brain functioning. To this end, we studied associations between variability in dynamic functional connectivity (DFC) in relevant functional brain networks, apathy, and variability in physical activity in schizophrenia. Thirty-one patients with schizophrenia, scoring high on apathy, were included and wore an actigraph. Activity variability was calculated on the activity counts using the root of the Mean Squared Successive Difference (MSSD). Furthermore, we calculated DFC on resting-state data as phase interactions between blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signals of 270 brain regions per volume. Variability (MSSD) in DFC was calculated for 3 networks, including the default-mode network (DMN), frontoparietal network, and salience-reward network (SRN). Finally, we calculated correlations between these DFC estimates and apathy and activity variability. First, lower activity variability was associated with higher levels of apathy. Second, higher levels of apathy were associated with lower variability in DFC in the DMN and SRN. Third, higher activity variability was associated with higher variability in DFC in the SRN. In conclusion, patients with schizophrenia and more severe levels of apathy showed less variability in their physical activity and more rigid functional brain network behavior in the DMN and SRN. These networks have been shown relevant for self-reflection, mental simulation, and reward processing, processes that are pivotal for self-initiated goal-directed behavior. Functional rigidity of these networks may therefore contribute to reduced goal-directed behavior, which is characteristic for these patients.
- dynamic functional connectivity
- brain networks
- motor behavior
- ECOLOGICAL MOMENTARY ASSESSMENT
- SIGNAL VARIABILITY