Perturbed reward processing in pediatric bipolar disorder: An antisaccade study

Sven C. Mueller, Pamela Ng, Veronica Temple, Michael G. Hardin, Daniel S. Pine, Ellen Leibenluft, Monique Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Pediatric bipolar disorder is a severe and impairing illness. Characterizing the impact of pediatric bipolar disorder on cognitive function might aid in understanding the phenomenology of the disorder. While previous studies of pediatric bipolar disorder have reported deficits in cognitive control and reward behavior, little is understood about how affective processes influence behavioral control. Relative to prior studies using manual-response paradigms, eye movement tasks provide a more precise assessment of reward sensitivity and cognitive and motor control. The current study compares 20 youths with bipolar disorder (mean age = 13.9 years ± 2.22) and 23 healthy subjects (mean age = 13.8 years ± 2.49) on a mixed pro-antisaccade task with monetary incentives. On both types of saccades, participants were presented with three types of incentives: those where subjects can win money, lose money, or neither win nor lose money. Impaired reward processing was found in youths with bipolar disorder relative to controls, particularly on antisaccades. This difference was reflected in lower error rates during incentive trials in the control but not in the bipolar disorder group. By comparison, no group differences were found on prosaccade trials. The results provide further evidence for deficits in cognitive and reward processing in bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1779-1784
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • antisaccade
  • bipolar disorder
  • cognitive control
  • emotion
  • reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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