The Social Behaviors and Emotional Characteristics of Individuals Elevated on Social Anhedonia
Blanchard, Jack J
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Research suggests that social anhedonia (SocAnh) is a promising indicator for the vulnerability towards developing schizophrenia-spectrum disorders as well as an important determinant of the social impairment associated within these disorders. In this study we sought to examine the hypothesis that, within social affiliative interactions, individuals with SocAnh demonstrate problematic behavioral skills and experiential deficits. The current study compared controls (n=54) to individuals elevated on SocAnh (n=42) within a videotaped social interaction focusing on an initial affiliative interaction. Compared to controls, participants with SocAnh were rated as less behaviorally affiliative and they were rated as having overall lower social skills. There were no group differences on ratings of facial affect. SocAnh participants reported experiencing less positive affect in response to the social interaction, were less willing to engage in future social interactions with their interaction partner, and had less affiliative reactions toward the interaction partner. Results converge with prior findings in that individuals with SocAnh may experience less positive and affiliative reactions in response to social interactions. They may also be less apt in interacting with social partners in affiliative ways. Notably, results of the current study also demonstrate that the simulated live social interaction developed for the current study may better elicit social affiliative behaviors and experiences than previous stimuli.