Time course of selective attention in clinically depressed young adults: an eye tracking study.

Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, A8000, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 08/2008; 46(11):1238-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2008.07.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Depressed individuals display biased attention for emotional information when stimuli are presented for relatively "long" (e.g., 1s) durations. The current study examined whether attentional biases are sustained over a much longer period. Specifically, clinically depressed and never depressed young adults simultaneously viewed images from four emotion categories (sad, threat, positive, neutral) for 30s while line of visual gaze was assessed. Depressed individuals spent significantly more time viewing dysphoric images and less time viewing positive images than their never depressed counterparts. Time course analyses indicated that these biases were maintained over the course of the trial. Results suggest that depressed participants' attentional biases for dysphoric information are sustained for relatively long periods even when other emotional stimuli are present. Mood congruent information-processing biases appear to be a robust feature of depression and may have an important role in the maintenance of the disorder.

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