The Relationship Between Schizotypal Traits and Affect-driven Volition in Healthy Adults

Joyce Yuen Ting Lam (Corresponding Author), Marcus Hoi Fung Ng, Maritta Välimäki, Benjamin K. Yee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Avolition in schizophrenia has been attributed to an underlying decoupling between affect and volitional action. It may be demonstrated behaviourally in the Anticipatory Consummatory Pleasure (ACP) task, whereby subjects may adjust the viewing (in time or future probability) of images with positive or negative affective content. Correspondence between response vigour and perceived affective intensity of the images was typically poorer in people with schizophrenia than healthy controls. Here, we investigated if ACP performance would be similarly modulated by schizotypal traits in the non-clinical population. Schizotypal traits were assessed in healthy adult volunteers using Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief before evaluation of ACP performance. Association between the three schizotypal traits and affect-volition coupling was examined by correlative analysis followed by comparison between dichotomized clusters. Affect-volition coupling appeared to correlate positively with increasing schizotypal traits, especially in the interpersonal and disorganization dimensions. Direct comparison between the two clusters of subjects demarcated with respect to all three schizotypy dimensions showed that actions motivated by future affective outcomes was selectively potentiated, as opposed to in-the-moment outcomes, in the higher schizotypy cluster. The positive modulation of affect-volition coupling by schizotypal traits seen here was unexpected given the robust decoupling reported in people with schizophrenia. Our data also contradicted with previous ACP studies reporting either an opposite or null relationship between schizotypy and affect-volition coupling. We speculate that the relationship across a more extended continuum of schizotypal traits may follow an inverted U-shape, thus either ends of the continuum is associated with suboptimal ACP performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-276
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023


  • Avolition
  • Motivation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizotypy
  • SPQ-B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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