Increased default mode network connectivity in obsessive-compulsive disorder during reward processing

Kathrin Koch, Tim J. Reeß, Oana G. Rus, Deniz A. Gürsel, Gerd Wagner, Götz Berberich, Claus Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by anxiety-provoking, obsessive thoughts (i.e., obsessions) which patients react to with compulsive behaviors (i.e., compulsions). Due to the transient feeling of relief following the reduction of obsession-induced anxiety, compulsions are often described as relieving or even rewarding. Several studies investigated functional activation during reward processing in OCD, but findings are heterogeneous up to now and little is known about potential alterations in functional connectivity. Method: Against this background we studied OCD patients (n = 44) and healthy controls (n = 37) during the receipt of monetary reward by assessing both activation and functional connectivity. Results: Patients showed a decreased activation in several frontal regions and the posterior cingulate (PCC, BA31) together with a stronger connectivity between the PCC and the vmPFC (BA10). Conclusion: Present findings demonstrate an increased connectivity in patients within major nodes of the default mode network (DMN)-a network known to be involved in the evaluation of internal mental states. These results may indicate an increased activity of internal, self-related processing at the expense of a normal responsiveness toward external rewards and incentives. This, in turn, may explain the constant urge for additional reinforcement and patients' inability to inhibit their compulsive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Connectivity
  • DMN
  • OCD
  • Reinforcement
  • Reward


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