The impact of Parkinson's disease and subthalamic deep brain stimulation on reward processing

Ricarda Evens, Yuliya Stankevich, Maja Dshemuchadse, Alexander Storch, Martin Wolz, Heinz Reichmann, Thomas E. Schlaepfer, Thomas Goschke, Ulrike Lueken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Due to its position in cortico-subthalamic and cortico-striatal pathways, the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is considered to play a crucial role not only in motor, but also in cognitive and motivational functions. In the present study we aimed to characterize how different aspects of reward processing are affected by disease and deep brain stimulation of the STN (DBS-STN) in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods: We compared 33 PD patients treated with DBS-STN under best medical treatment (DBS-on, medication-on) to 33 PD patients without DBS, but optimized pharmacological treatment and 34 age-matched healthy controls. We then investigated DBS-STN effects using a postoperative stimulation-on/ -off design. The task set included a delay discounting task, a task to assess changes in incentive salience attribution, and the Iowa Gambling Task. Results: The presence of PD was associated with increased incentive salience attribution and devaluation of delayed rewards. Acute DBS-STN increased risky choices in the Iowa Gambling Task under DBS-on condition, but did not further affect incentive salience attribution or the evaluation of delayed rewards. Conclusion: Findings indicate that acute DBS-STN affects specific aspects of reward processing, including the weighting of gains and losses, while larger-scale effects of disease or medication are predominant in others reward-related functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Delay discounting
  • Iowa gambling task
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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  • Cite this

    Evens, R., Stankevich, Y., Dshemuchadse, M., Storch, A., Wolz, M., Reichmann, H., Schlaepfer, T. E., Goschke, T., & Lueken, U. (2015). The impact of Parkinson's disease and subthalamic deep brain stimulation on reward processing. Neuropsychologia, 75, 11-19.