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Figure 1 | Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Figure 1

From: Social ‘wanting’ dysfunction in autism: neurobiological underpinnings and treatment implications

Figure 1

A simplified view of the time course of reward processing and its underlying neural correlates (after Berridge and Kringelbach [[7]]). Temporally, the processing of reward can be subdivided into two successive phases, with a ‘wanting’ period usually preceding a ‘liking’ response, each with a discrete neural basis. Although rewards that are ‘liked’ are typically also ‘wanted’, it seems that these two aspects of reward are dissociable both psychologically and neurobiologically. Rewarding situations are characterized by an anticipation phase or the ‘wanting’ of a reward, which often results in a phase of reward consumption or ‘liking’, with some rewards causing a peak level of subjective pleasantness (for example, a lottery win, job promotion, encounter with an old friend, favorite meal or music, sexual orgasm, drug high). Many rewarding episodes are followed by a period of satiation for the specific reward experienced. To our knowledge, there are currently no data available to suggest that the ‘wanting’/’liking’ model would apply differently to social and non-social types of reward. However, some rewards lack satiation effects or result in only short periods of satiation (for example, money). In general, physiological or drive states (for example, satiation, deprivation, stress, anxiety) strongly modulate an individual’s responsiveness to reward. Both reward ‘wanting’ and reward ‘liking’ have been associated with discrete (and to a specific extent with some overlapping) neural correlates. Whereas ‘wanting’ is mainly driven by phasic dopaminergic neural firing in the ventral striatum (including the nucleus accumbens), ‘liking’ is largely influenced by the opioid system, and recruits the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). As summarized in this paper, there is good evidence to suggest that reward ‘wanting’ is disrupted in ASD, particularly in the social domain, whereas the available data for reward ‘liking’ are inconclusive (see below for details).

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