Neuroeconomics for the Study of Social Cognition in Adolescent Depression

William Mellick, Carla Sharp, Monique Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Traditional social-cognitive approaches for investigating interpersonal problems in adolescent depression are limited. An important functional domain studied in adolescent depression is reward, but experimental paradigms have largely been nonsocial. In this article, we propose the methods and concepts of neuroeconomics may address this gap. We begin by discussing a well-established social reward model for vulnerability to adolescent depression. We then show how neuroeconomics may extend this model by offering the tools to examine the mechanics of social exchanges, in behavioral and neural terms, that maintain (or pose vulnerability to) depression. In doing so, we propose a neuroeconomic model of adolescent depression in which depression is defined as a perturbation of interpersonal motivational/reward exchange. This model serves to guide future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-276
Number of pages22
JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Adolescent depression
  • Neuroeconomics
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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