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Jessica Renaud, Max Owens; Reflection Rumination Reduces Negative Emotional Processing During Goal-Directed Behavior.. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1206. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1206.
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Depression is a severe disorder of brain function, however the links between risk factors contributing to the severity of its episodes is unclear. To help fill this gap in the literature this study looked at the relationship between negative biases and rumination. Negative biases are common in depression and are thought to arise from inefficient functioning between cognitive control and emotion processing brain regions. Rumination is a repetitive and narrowed attentional focus on the causes and symptoms of depression. Rumination is comprised of at least two sub-components, reflection, which is a goal-directed form, and brooding, a more passive form. The link between rumination and negative biases was examined on an emotional delayed match to sample working memory task. In the task participants were asked remember a set of neutral faces across a delay period, where novel sad, happy or scrambled face distractors are presented. Participant memory accuracy was collected, and using EEG the amplitudes of the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related component of emotion processing, were recorded in response to distractors. In line with expectations LPP amplitudes increased for emotional versus scrambled face distractors. Depression and rumination did not significantly impact accuracy, however, a significant emotion by reflection interaction on LPP amplitudes was observed. Specifically, as reflection scores increased, LPP amplitudes for sad faces decreased relative to amplitudes for scrambled faces. Together, results show reflection is associated with a goal directed decrease of negative emotional processing to maintain task performance, and may indicate one path for influencing cognitive inefficiency in depression. Results are discussed in relation to cognitive models of depression.
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