Anhedonia in Schizophrenia Reflects Beliefs, Not Deficits


Researchers at the University of Maryland investigated “the emotion paradox” in schizophrenia; the tendency of individuals with schizophrenia to report similar levels of positive emotion when reporting on current feelings, but lower levels when reporting on noncurrent feelings. Reviewing the empirical literature on anhedonia and emotional experience, they propose that anhedonia in schizophrenia should no longer be considered to represent a deficit or a diminished capacity for pleasure, but rather a set of beliefs related to pleasure that are reflected in response to questions about noncurrent feelings, and which are resistant to real-world experiences. Results will be in an upcoming American Journal of Psychiatry.

Abstract →                                         Discuss →


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Not having access to the entire article, it’s difficult to tell, but from the abstract this does not sound plausible.

    Is it another attempt to let the drugs off the hook for adverse psychiatric effects?

    I can tell from personal experience with antidepressants — not antipsychotics, fortunately — they definitely do interfere with a full range of feeling. It’s not an attitude problem.

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