for people ages 18-65 (full criteria)
at La Jolla, California
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Katia Harle
Headshot of Katia Harle
Katia Harle



Anhedonia, i.e., reduced positive mood and decreased sensitivity to rewards, is observed in many psychiatric illnesses, particularly depression and anxiety disorders. Untreated anhedonia predicts worse clinical outcomes and poorer response to treatment, yet cognitive behavioral treatment approaches to target anhedonia are fraught with poor patient compliance in real-life settings. The proposed study aims to address this gap by 1) testing the usefulness of a non-invasive, computationally informed, cognitive training in boosting reward sensitivity and reducing anhedonia in depressed and anxious patients, and 2) delineating the neurocomputational mechanisms of change associated with such intervention. In other words, can we train the brain to obtain rewards and boost positive mood among depressed and anxious individuals? This project will help to develop a computational training protocol aimed at reducing anhedonia and improving existing interventions for psychiatric conditions characterized by reward processing deficits. Long-term goals include expanding this framework to a broader range of appetitive and social stimuli to develop precise cognitive training tools to treat anhedonia.


Anhedonia, Depression, High Reward - High Variance, High Reward - Low Variance


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-65

  • Age 18-65 (all races, both males and females will be included)
  • Current diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • A score < 7 on the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS) or < 25 on the Positive Affect subscale from the Positive And Negative Affect Scale (PANAS)
  • Sufficient proficiency in English language to understand and complete informed consent, interviews, questionnaires, and all other study procedures.
  • Having normal or corrected vision
  • Having normal or corrected hearing

You CAN'T join if...

  • Endorsement of past or current psychotic or bipolar disorder.
  • Endorsement of recent severe alcohol or substance use disorder (past 3 months).
  • Inability to discontinue for 48 hours prior to scan any medications incompatible with measuring reliable/interpretable neural activity (e.g., e.g., benzodiazepines/beta-blockers, atypical anti-depressants, anxiolytics and sedative hypnotics, antipsychotics, and opioid analgesics)
  • Being unsafe to undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), i.e., being pregnant, presence of non-removable metal in body, medical conditions that are incompatible with safe MRI (e.g., claustrophobia, inability to lie still on one's back for approximately 60 minutes; prior neurosurgery)
  • Clinical conditions assessed by the interviewer that necessitate more imminent clinical care (e.g., active suicidal ideation): These criteria are in place so participants with these other, more several symptoms can be referred for appropriate mental health services.


  • UCSD Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging accepting new patients
    La Jolla California 92093 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSD

  • Katia Harle
    Assistant Clinical Professor, Psychiatry, Vc-health Sciences-schools. Authored (or co-authored) 36 research publications. Research interests: Computational Psychiatry · fMRI · Anhedonia · PTSD


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Study Type
Expecting 50 study participants
Last Updated