Evidence for an emotion maintenance deficit in schizophrenia

David E. Gard, Shanna Cooper, Melissa Fisher, Alexander Genevsky, Joseph A. Mikels, Sophia Vinogradov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Research has indicated that people with schizophrenia have deficits in reward representation and goal-directed behavior, which may be related to the maintenance of emotional experiences. Using a laboratory-based study, we investigated whether people with schizophrenia were able to maintain an emotional experience when given explicit instructions to do so. Twenty-eight people with schizophrenia and 19 people without completed a behavioral task judging their emotional experience of pictures held over a three second delay. This emotion maintenance task was compared to a subsequent in-the-moment emotion experience rating of each picture. In addition, all participants completed an analogous brightness experience maintenance and rating task, and patients completed a standardized visual working memory task. Participants with schizophrenia showed normal in-the-moment emotion experience of the emotion pictures; however, they showed decreased performance on emotion maintenance (for both positive and negative emotion) compared to participants without schizophrenia, even after controlling for brightness maintenance. The emotion maintenance deficit was not associated with visual brightness performance nor with performance on the visual working memory task; however, negative emotion maintenance was associated with an interview-based rating of motivation. These findings suggest that some aspects of impaired emotion maintenance in schizophrenia may be related to deficits in motivated behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 2011


  • Affective maintenance
  • Motivation
  • Reward representation
  • Working memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for an emotion maintenance deficit in schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this