Anticipated emotion refers to an individual’s predicted emotion before the occurrence of a future event and it plays a central role in everyday life as it affects decision-making, motivation, and goal-directed behaviours. Previous literature indicated that individuals may predict anticipated emotions differently for future social and non-social events.
Accumulated evidence suggested that anticipated emotion is closely associated with anhedonia and amotivation. Individuals with schizophrenia and individuals with schizotypal traits exhibit impairments in envisioning future emotion, and these impairments are predominately observed in social domains. Therefore, investigating how individuals with schizophrenia or schizotypal traits predict anticipated emotions for social and non-social events would benefit the understanding of anhedonia and amotivation.
To address these issues, Dr. Raymond Chan from the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Dr. Rui-ting Zhang from the Department of Psychology, Hunan Normal University, have developed a scale, namely the “Social Affective Forecasting Scale (SAFS)”, to examine the relationship among anticipated emotion, schizotypal traits, and negative symptoms.
In Study 1, they recruited a main sample of 666 college students to complete the SAFS and other measurements for anhedonia. Their findings based on exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) both showed that the SAFS comprised a four-factor structure, including the positive social, the positive non-social, the negative social, and the negative non-social factors. These findings were further replicated in an independent sample of 927 college students.
In Study 2, they further examined the association of the SAFS with negative symptoms in 47 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls, and the association with schizotypal traits in a large sample of 2655 college students. Their findings showed that interpersonal features of schizotypal traits and negative symptoms of schizophrenia were associated with reduced anticipated pleasure for future positive social events, but not positive non-social events.
Taken together, these findings suggest that the newly developed SAFS shows good reliability and validity in evaluating anticipated pleasure and displeasure for future social and nonsocial events in both clinical and subclinical samples. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province, the Scientific Foundation of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Phillip K.H. Wong Foundation.
The study entitled "Anticipated Pleasure and Displeasure for Future Social and nonsocial Events: A Scale Development Study" is now published online in Schizophrenia Bulletin Open on August 22.
Institute of Psychology Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing 100101, China.