Understanding negative symptoms: neuroimaging insights into the neurocognitive basis of negative symptoms in schizophrenia

Nicky Gabriëlle Klaasen

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    812 Downloads (Pure)


    Negative symptoms are prevalent in people with a psychotic disorder, but they also occur in other psychiatric and neurological disorders, as well as in otherwise healthy people. Negative symptoms can be divided into expressive deficits and amotivation. Especially amotivation has a strong association with unfavorable outcomes and reduced quality of life. Therefore, treatment of negative symptoms, most notably amotivation, is of great importance. Unfortunately current treatment options for negative symptoms are lacking, in part because the neural processes underlying negative symptoms are largely unknown.
    In this thesis several processes were studied that may be disrupted in people with negative symptoms, focusing mainly on amotivation and its constituent symptom apathy. Amotivation is characterized by a reduction of goal-directed behavior. Processes underlying goal-directed behavior that could be disrupted in amotivation include reward sensitivity, cognitive flexibility, and self-initiation. In this thesis we examined whether activation and cooperation of brain areas involved in these processes is altered in people with negative symptoms. Our results showed that brain areas involved in reward processing and flexibly allocating attention are less active in people with negative symptoms. Additionally, cooperation between brain areas involved in reward processing and the anticipation of positive events was reduced in people with negative symptoms. These findings may contribute to the understanding of negative symptoms and to the development and improvement of treatment for these symptoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Aleman, Andre, Supervisor
    • Opmeer, E.M., Co-supervisor
    • Kaiser, Stefan, Assessment committee, External person
    • Spikman, Joke, Assessment committee
    • Veltman, D.J, Assessment committee, External person
    Award date1-Nov-2017
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-0170-6
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0169-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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