Attentional bias training in depression: therapeutic effects depend on depression severity.
ABSTRACT Depressed individuals show maintained attention to negative information and reduced attention for positive information. Selective biases in information processing are considered to have an important role in the origin, maintenance and recurrence of depressive episodes. In two experiments we investigated the effects of attentional bias manipulation on mood and depressive symptoms. In experiment 1 we investigated the effects of attentional bias manipulation compared to a control procedure in a sample of dysphoric students (N = 48) showing mild to severe levels of depressive symptoms. In experiment 2 we investigated the same attentional training procedure in a sample of depressed in- and outpatients (N = 35). Mild improvements on symptom severity were observed in students showing mild depressive symptoms. However, in students showing moderate to severe depressive symptoms, depressive symptoms increased after the training. No beneficial effects of training on top of therapy and/or medication were found in depressed patients. These results indicate that therapeutic effects of attentional bias modification might be dependent on depression severity.
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ABSTRACT: The modified selective attention hypothesis proposes that individuals showing signs of depression will fail to disengage from negative stimuli in the environment. Some research suggests that depressive symptoms decrease once this bias is "corrected". Thus, attention may play a causal and/or sustaining role in depression. The present study examined whether (a) attention can be modified in a student sample to induce a negative attentional bias; and (b) this trained attentional bias will be associated with negative shifts in mood and cognitions. A sample of undergraduates (N = 112) were recruited and asked to complete questionnaires designed to measure depressive symptoms, mood, and negative thoughts toward the self. Participants were then randomly assigned to either an attend-negative (n = 60) or a no-training control condition (n = 52), and asked to complete a computer task. In the attend-negative condition, the computer task (dot probe) was designed to elicit a transient attentional bias toward negative stimuli. After the completion of this task, participants completed the questionnaires a second time. Participants in the experimental condition evidenced higher negative attentional bias scores in comparison to control participants. Further, females demonstrated more negative attention at the end of the training relative to males. Repeated measures analysis of variances further found that following the completion of the computer task, both groups evidenced a negative shift in mood. These results must be interpreted with caution given that baseline attentional biases were not measured in this study. Replication and extension of the findings of this study is necessary.Cognitive Therapy and Research 07/2014; 38(6):621-633. DOI:10.1007/s10608-014-9631-y · 1.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cognitive bias modification for attentional bias (CBM-A) attempts to alleviate anxiety by training an attentional bias away from threat. Several authors have argued that CBM-A in fact trains top-down, reactive counteraction of the tendency to orient towards threat. Imposing a working memory (WM) load during training should therefore limit its efficacy, since WM resources are required for goal-driven control of attention. Twenty-eight subclinical high-anxious participants completed two sessions of CBM-A or placebo training: one under a high WM load, and one under a low WM load. Attentional bias was assessed after each training. CBM-A produced an attentional bias away from threat under low load, but not under high load. These results suggest CBM-A trains top-down counteraction of orienting to threat. It also suggests the administration of CBM-A in the home environment may be affected by everyday worries and distractions.Cognitive Therapy and Research 12/2014; 38(6):634-639. DOI:10.1007/s10608-014-9628-6 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Smoking-related cues can trigger drug-seeking behaviors, and computer-based interventions that reduce cognitive biases towards such cues may be efficacious and cost-effective cessation aids. In order to optimize such interventions, there needs to be better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the effects of cognitive bias modification (CBM). Here we present a protocol for an investigation of the neural effects of CBM and varenicline in non-quitting daily smokers.Trials 10/2014; 15(1):391. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-15-391 · 2.12 Impact Factor