Neurophysiological correlates of Avolition-apathy in schizophrenia: A resting-EEG microstates study

Giordano, Giulia M.; König, Thomas; Mucci, Armida; Vignapiano, Annarita; Amodio, Antonella; Di Lorenzo, Giorgio; Siracusano, Alberto; Bellomo, Antonello; Altamura, Mario; Monteleone, Palmiero; Pompili, Maurizio; Galderisi, Silvana; Maj, Mario (2018). Neurophysiological correlates of Avolition-apathy in schizophrenia: A resting-EEG microstates study. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20, pp. 627-636. Elsevier 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.08.031

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Background: The “Avolition-apathy” domain of the negative symptoms was found to include different symptoms by factor analytic studies on ratings derived by different scales. In particular, the relationship of anhedonia with this domain is controversial. Recently introduced negative symptom rating scales provide a better assessment of anhedonia, allowing the distinction of anticipatory and consummatory aspects, which might be related to different psychopathological dimensions. The study of associations with external validators, such as electrophysiological, brain imaging or cognitive indices, might shed further light on the status of anhedonia within the Avolition-apathy domain.

Objectives: We used brain electrical microstates (MSs), which represent subsecond periods of quasi-stable scalp electrical field, associated with resting-state neural networks (and thus with global patterns of functional connectivity), to test whether the component symptoms of Avolition-apathy share the same correlates.

Method: We analyzed multichannel resting EEGs in 142 individuals with schizophrenia (SCZ) and in 64 healthy controls (HC), recruited within the add-on EEG study of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses. Relative time contribution, duration and occurrence of four MS classes (MS-A/-B/-C/−D) were calculated. Group differences on MS parameters (contribution and duration) and their associations with negative symptom domains (assessed using the Brief Negative Symptoms Scale) were investigated.

Results: SCZ, in comparison to HC, showed increased contribution and duration of MS-C. The contribution of MSA positively correlated with Avolition-apathy, but not with Expressive deficit. Within the Avolition-apathy domain, anticipatory anhedonia, avolition and asociality, but not consummatory anhedonia, showed the same correlations with MS-A contribution.

Conclusion: Our findings support the existence of distinct electrophysiological correlates of Avolition-apathy with respect to Expressive deficit, and lend support to the hypothesis that only the anticipatory component of anhedonia shares the same pathophysiological underpinnings of the Avolition-apathy domain.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center

UniBE Contributor:

König, Thomas


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Thomas König

Date Deposited:

17 Sep 2018 14:06

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:18

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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