Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Faculty News Psychology

‘Teaching Joy’ Is A New Approach In The Battle Against Anhedonia


Originally Posted: May 9, 2019

People who find themselves unable to experience delight or satisfaction may be suffering from something called anhedonia, a symptom of depression that strips people of their ability to feel joy.

Professors at Southern Methodist University are part of a five-year study aiming to develop a more effective treatment.

Alicia Meuret has described her team’s novel approach as training people “to develop psychological muscle memory, to learn again how to experience joy and identify that experience when it occurs.”

She and Thomas Ritz answered our questions about anhedonia and about the study, which will measure the effectiveness of their treatment in over 160 people suffering from the condition.

Anhedonia is the deficit in positive affect — the loss of enjoyment in and desire for pleasurable activities.

In essence, it’s the inability to either foresee, anticipate, to become motivated for or to actually experience pleasure from activities that a person has previously experienced as pleasurable. LISTEN