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Major depressive disorder, a complex neuropsychiatric condition, is associated with psychosocial functioning impairments that could become chronic even after symptoms remit. Social functioning impairments in patients could also pose coping difficulties to individuals around them. In this Personal View, we trace the potential neurobiological origins of these impairments down to three candidate domains-namely, social perception and emotion processing, motivation and reward value processing, and social decision making. We argue that the neural basis of abnormalities in these domains could be detectable at different temporal stages during social interactions (eg, before and after decision stages), particularly within frontomesolimbic networks (ie, frontostriatal and amygdala-striatal circuitries). We review some of the experimental designs used to probe these circuits and suggest novel, integrative approaches. We propose that an understanding of the interactions between these domains could provide valuable insights for the clinical stratification of major depressive disorder subtypes and might inform future developments of novel treatment options in return.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Psychiatry

Publication Date





835 - 843


Cognition Disorders, Depressive Disorder, Major, Humans, Neural Pathways, Neuropsychological Tests, Social Behavior