There’s an interesting article on Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. It’s called Learning from Negative Feedback in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder is Attenuated by SSRI Antidepressants.
The researchers evaluated learning ability in three groups:
- medication-naïve individuals who met the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder
- individuals who met the criteria for MDD and were receiving the SSRI paroxetine (Paxil)
- “healthy” controls
All subjects were given a learning task that allowed the researchers to distinguish learning from positive feedback versus learning from negative feedback
The results were:
- the “healthy” controls learned better from positive feedback than either of the depressed groups
- the individuals taking the SSRI learned less from negative feedback than either of the other groups
To quote from the authors:
“This suggests that SSRI antidepressants impair learning from negative feedback…”
Learning from negative consequences is a very important component of navigating our way through the social and other complexities of life. Any impairment in this area is not trivial, and this may well be a contributing factor to poor long-term outcome that is associated with the use of antidepressants.
Thanks to Mad in America for the link to this article.