Working to win vs. working to keep: Prospect Theory and effort-based decision-making in humans
Roman, Olivia C.
Reward processing studies of anhedonia have provided a great deal of support to the idea that this common symptom of depression and schizophrenia is characterized in part by decreased motivation to pursue rewards. However, there is also compelling evidence that reward and loss processing are linked, suggesting that anhedonic individuals may also experience reduced motivation to avoid a loss. Using a modified version of the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task, this study examined undergraduates’ behavior when working to win money versus working to avoid losing money, and how this behavior reflected trait anhedonia, depression, and anxiety. Consistent with Prospect Theory, participants were more likely to expend effort to avoid a loss. However, no correlations were observed between performance and self-reported personality/psychopathological traits.