Categorical and Dimensional Reports of Experienced Affect to Emotion-Inducing Pictures in Depression.

Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 2EF, United Kingdom.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 11/2004; 113(4):654-60. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.113.4.654
Source: PubMed


Self-reported affect to positive and negative emotional pictures was contrasted in people with major depressive disorder (MDD) and never-depressed control participants (n = 25 in each group). The results revealed significant differences in response to positive images (reduced arousal, less pleasant valence, decreased happiness, increased sadness) in MDD but no clear group differences in response to negative stimuli. Extending earlier findings of reduced responsiveness to positive, but not negative, stimuli in MDD (D. M. Sloan, M. E. Strauss, S. W. Quirk, & M. Satajovik, 1997; D. M. Sloan, M. E. Strauss, & K. L. Wisner, 2001), the data indicate that blunted response to positive stimuli is found when both categorical and dimensional ratings are elicited. Further, the data replicate earlier findings of elevated sadness reports to positive stimuli (J. Rottenberg, K. L. Kasch, J. J. Gross, & I. H. Gotlib, 2002), which may reflect broader difficulties in regulating emotions in MDD.

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    • "These results were confirmed by later event-related potential studies displaying enhanced early potential responding to threat-related stimuli in highly anxious individuals [5], [8]. Moreover, in addition to reports of reduced sensitivity to pleasant stimuli [9], [10], many studies have reported that depressed individuals display a sustained processing bias for unpleasant words [11], faces [2], [5] and pictures [1], possibly as a result of dysfunction in suppressing unpleasant information [1]. Furthermore, studies of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) consistently showed that PTSD symptom measures (e.g. "
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    • "depression is associated with similar or reduced responses to negative stimuli compared to people without depression (Allen, Trinder, & Brennan, 1999; Berenbaum & Oltmanns, 1992; Dunn, Dalgleish, Lawrence, Cusack, & Ogilvie, 2004; Gehricke & Shapiro, 2000; Sloan, Strauss, Quirk, & Sajatovic, 1997; Sloan, Strauss, & Wisner, 2001). In addition, studies have found that depression is associated with reduced responses to positive stimuli (Allen et al., 1999; Berenbaum & Oltmanns, 1992; Dunn et al., 2004; Katsikitis & Pilowsky, 1991; Rottenberg, 2005; Rottenberg, Kasch, Gross, & Gotlib, 2002; Shestyuk, Deldin, Brand, & Deveney, 2005; Sloan et al., 1997, 2001). In short, these studies suggest, somewhat counterintuitively, that depression is associated with an overall dampening of both positive and negative emotion responses. "
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    • "Studies reliably demonstrate that depressed individuals differ from control participants in terms of reduced ratings of arousal, valence and happiness when viewing positive material, but do not consistently differ in their subjective ratings of negative material (e.g. Bylsma, Morris & Rottenberg, 2008; B. D. Dunn, Dalgleish, Lawrence, Cusack, & Oglivie, 2004; Rottenberg, Kasch, Gross, & Gotlib, 2002; Sloan, Strauss, Quirk, & Stajovik, 1997). Similarly, depressed individuals find it more difficult to recognise positive than negative facial expressions (i.e. "
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