Programme(s) to which this project applies:
|☑ MPhil/PhD||☒ MRes[Med]||☒ URIS|
Anhedonia and avolition are core negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Recent theories and empirical evidence suggest that schizophrenia patients demonstrate defective translation of emotional salience into motivated behaviour. This ‘emotion-behaviour decoupling’ operates together with other mechanisms, such as impaired cost-benefit computation and reinforcement learning, to generate negative symptoms. Emotion-behaviour decoupling has been found in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and genetic and behavioural high-risk populations. Although emotion-behaviour decoupling offers a promising theoretical framework to understand negative symptoms, previous research did not investigate its relationship with functional outcomes, nor employ ‘state-of-the-art’ negative symptom scales, and were cross-sectional in design. Moreover, how emotion-behaviour decoupling manifests in different schizophrenia subtypes remains unclear. To address the knowledge gap, we investigate the influence of emotion-behaviour decoupling on negative psychopathology and functional outcomes, using longitudinal design and refined symptom and functional assessments. This project aimed to unveil the long-term and short-term effects of emotion-behaviour decoupling on clinical and functional outcomes in schizophrenia patients, and to advance the theoretical understandings of negative symptoms.
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