Distinguishing depression from dementia in later life: a pilot study employing the Emotional Stroop task.
ABSTRACT In later life, cognitive impairment is common in depression often making it difficult to distinguish a dementing illness from depression. We examined whether people with depression could be differentiated from those with dementia on their performance on a task that examines attentional bias to depression related material.
Twelve older adults who fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for major depression were compared with 12 people with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and 12 age matched controls on a test of cognitive biases: the Emotional Stroop task. In this task participants were presented with words written in different coloured inks, and they had to name the colour the word was written in. Four types of material were presented-neutral, positive, and negative emotion words as well as a condition of meaningless symbols.
People with depression and those with AD were both slower than the controls on the task generally. However, the depressed group alone showed a statistically significant and specific increase in response time when colour naming the negative emotion words. The other two groups did not demonstrate such a pattern and colour named neutral, positive and negative words equally quickly.
The biased processing of depression related material may have a valuable role in distinguishing depression from dementia in later life. Although the Emotional Stroop in its present form is not sufficient for such a purpose. Furthermore, the demonstration that older adults with depression exhibit such biases helps provide a theoretical basis for the application of cognitive behavioural treatments with older adults.
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ABSTRACT: There is an extensive amount of literature utilising the emotional Stroop task (EST) to investigate attentional processes underlying a range of psychological conditions. Relatively fewer studies have specifically examined the impact of different Stroop stimuli presentation methods (i.e., blocked or mixed presentation of words). The aim of this study was to directly investigate this issue using an online version of the task. After an initial practice trial, 117 Psychology students (19 Male, 98 Female) were randomly allocated to either a random or counterbalanced blocked condition. Demographic information and level of psychological distress (K10) were also collected. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between blocked and random conditions on attentional interference. Further analysis indicated that random presentation produced significantly higher levels of response latencies to emotional words in participants with high levels of psychological distress. These data add to the methodological debate surrounding the use of blocked vs. random presentation of Stroop stimuli. Implications of these results for assessing control and clinical groups using the EST are discussed.E-Journal of Applied Psychology: Clinical and Social issues. 12/2005; 1:3-8.
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ABSTRACT: In this paper we examine the nature of automatic cognitive processing in anxiety disorders and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Rather than viewing automaticity as a unitary construct, we follow a social cognition perspective (Bargh, 1994) that argues for four theoretically independent features of automaticity: unconscious (processing of emotional stimuli occurs outside awareness), efficient (processing emotional meaning uses minimal attentional resources), unintentional (no goal is needed to engage in processing emotional meaning), and uncontrollable (limited ability to avoid, alter or terminate processing emotional stimuli). Our review of the literature suggests that most anxiety disorders are characterized by uncontrollable, and likely also unconscious and unintentional, biased processing of threat-relevant information. In contrast, MDD is most clearly typified by uncontrollable, but not unconscious or unintentional, processing of negative information. For the anxiety disorders and for MDD, there is no sufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about efficiency of processing, though early indications are that neither anxiety disorders nor MDD are characterized by this feature. Clinical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed and directions for future research are offered. In particular, it is clear that paradigms that more directly delineate the different features of automaticity are required to gain a more comprehensive and systematic understanding of the importance of automatic processing in emotion dysregulation.Clinical psychology review 07/2012; 32(6):575-603. · 7.18 Impact Factor
Dataset: Sveen et al 2009