Effects of behavioural activation on the neural circuit related to intrinsic motivation
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functional magnetic resonance imaging
[Background] Behavioural activation is an efficient treatment for depression and can improve intrinsic motivation. Previous studies have revealed that the frontostriatal circuit is involved in intrinsic motivation; however, there are no data on how behavioural activation affects the frontostriatal circuit.
[Aims] We aimed to investigate behavioural activation-related changes in the frontostriatal circuit.
[Method] Fifty-nine individuals with subthreshold depression were randomly assigned to either the intervention or non-intervention group. The intervention group received five weekly behavioural activation sessions. The participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning on two separate occasions while performing a stopwatch task based on intrinsic motivation. We investigated changes in neural activity and functional connectivity after behavioural activation.
[Results] After behavioural activation, the intervention group had increased activation and connectivity in the frontostriatal region compared with the non-intervention group. The increased activation in the right middle frontal gyrus was correlated with an improvement of subjective sensitivity to environmental rewards.
[Conclusions] Behavioural activation-related changes to the frontostriatal circuit advance our understanding of psychotherapy-induced improvements in the neural basis of intrinsic motivation.
[Declaration of interest] None.
This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, JSPS (grants 16H06395 and 16H06399), and grant 23118004 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. This work was partially supported by the programme for Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS) by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, AMED (grant 15dm0207012h0002) and Integrated Research on Depression, Dementia and Development Disorders by AMED (grant 16dm0107093h0001).
The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation or review of the manuscript or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
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