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Altered medial frontal feedback learning signals in anorexia nervosa

Bernardoni, Fabio, Geisler, Daniel, King, Joseph A., Javadi, Amir-Homayoun, Ritschel, Franziska, Murr, Julia, Reiter, Andrea M.F., Rössner, Veit, Smolka, Michael N., Kiebel, Stefan, and others. (2017) Altered medial frontal feedback learning signals in anorexia nervosa. Biological Psychiatry, 83 (3). pp. 235-243. ISSN 0006-3223. (doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.07.024) (KAR id:63556)

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In their relentless pursuit of thinness, individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) engage in maladaptive behaviors (restrictive food choices, over-exercising) which may originate in altered decision-making and learning.


In this fMRI study we employed computational modelling to elucidate the neural correlates of feedback learning and value-based decision making in 36 female AN patients and 36 age-matched healthy volunteers (12-24 years). Participants performed a decision task which required adaptation to changing reward contingencies. Data were analyzed within a hierarchical Gaussian filter model, which captures inter-individual variability in learning under uncertainty.


Behaviorally, patients displayed an increased learning rate specifically after punishments. At the neural level, hemodynamic correlates for learning rate, expected value and prediction error did not differ between the groups. However, activity in the posterior medial frontal cortex was elevated in AN following punishment.


Our findings suggest that the neural underpinning of feedback learning is selectively altered for punishment in AN.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.07.024
Uncontrolled keywords: probabilistic reversal learningfMRIanterior cingulate cortexcomputational modellinghierarchical modelsBayesian inference
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Amir-Homayoun Javadi
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 13:19 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:48 UTC
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Javadi, Amir-Homayoun:
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