Impaired executive control of emotional information in social anhedonia

Laura Tully, Sarah Hope Lincoln, Christine I. Hooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We examined the executive control of emotional information and its relationship to social functioning in individuals at risk for schizophrenia, defined by high social anhedonia (SA). Using the same structure as the Attentional Network Test (ANT), we developed a measure of executive control of emotional information (ANT-Emotion) in which subjects identify the direction of an arrow flanked by irrelevant angry or neutral faces. Subjects completed the ANT, ANT-Emotion, and the Social Adjustment Scale, Self-Report (SAS-SR), a measure of social functioning. While there were no group differences in the alerting, orienting, and executive control networks assessed by the ANT, high SA individuals exhibited a specific impairment in the executive control of emotional information. High SA individuals also reported poorer social functioning. However, executive control of emotional information did not mediate the relationship between SA and social functioning. These findings indicate that, in high-risk populations, the impaired ability to inhibit emotional information allows negative affective stimuli to exert inappropriate influence on cognitive processes. These results are consistent with studies indicating similar findings in schizophrenia patients, suggesting that impaired inhibition of negative emotion may be part of the liability for the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Attention network test
  • Psychosis-proneness
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social cognition
  • Social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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