Neuropsychological functioning and social anhedonia: three-year follow-up data from a longitudinal community high risk study

J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Jul;46(7):898-904. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.03.020. Epub 2012 Apr 14.


Social anhedonia is a promising vulnerability marker for schizophrenia-spectrum pathology. Prior research has demonstrated that individuals with psychometrically-defined social anhedonia show a range of "schizophrenia-like" neurocognitive abnormalities. However, this research is limited in that it is based largely on the study of college students. The present article reports findings from a longitudinal study of social anhedonia recruited from a community sample. As part of this study, a neurocognitive battery was administered at baseline and at three-year follow-up sessions to participants with (n = 78) versus without (n = 77) social anhedonia. Additional measures of global functioning and schizotypal, schizoid and paranoid schizophrenia-spectrum symptoms were also administered. Across groups, subjects showed significant improvement in neurocognitive functioning over time. Compared to controls, at follow-up, individuals with social anhedonia showed significantly poorer attentional vigilance and simple processing speed, but failed to evidence impairments in immediate or delayed verbal memory, immediate or delayed visual memory, visual or verbal working memory, olfaction or executive abilities. At follow-up, within the social anhedonia group, schizoid (and to a lesser extent, schizotypal) symptom severity was associated with a range of neurocognitive impairments. Neurocognitive impairments were generally not associated with paranoid symptoms or global functioning. Baseline neurocognitive performance was not significantly predictive of follow-up symptom severity or functioning. Collectively, these findings suggest that neurocognitive dysfunctions only characterize a subset of individuals with social anhedonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anhedonia / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Social Behavior
  • Young Adult