Not Feeling It: Adolescent Depression and Reward Processing Gone Awry

Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 2:00 pm EST
Meet the Scientist - November 2020

Depression doesn’t just increase negative emotions like sadness: it decreases positive emotions, as evidenced by fatigue, low motivation, and difficulty looking forward to or enjoying pleasant events. The brain’s reward circuitry is the neural basis for these changes, and it is undergoing dramatic development during adolescence, when depression typically begins. This presentation will describe the ways that disrupted function in these reward systems accompanies depression, could make some adolescents more vulnerable to depression, and might even help us predict clinical course and treatment response.

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Presented by 
Erika E. Forbes, Ph.D.
Erika E. Forbes, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Psychology and Clinical and Translational Science

University of Pittsburgh

2014 Independent Investigator Grant

2006 Young Investigator Grant

Dr. Forbes' research addresses the regulation and dysregulation of positive affect and the processing of reward in childhood depression. Her current project involves a study of low activation of in reward-related brain areas, low subjective experience of positive affect in natural settings as measured by ecological momentary assessment, and the relationship of the fMRI-revealed brain activation to seeking and experiencing positive affects in natural settings.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.