Psychological Science 2018, (3) 743-748 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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negative mood
emotional Stroop task
impaired disengagement hypothesis
YU Chun-Mei
WU Shan
YU Jing-Xin
Article by Zhang,k
Article by Yu,C.M
Article by Wu,s
Article by Yu,J.X

The Emotional Stroop Effect for Depression-related Individuals under Negative Mood: Evidence from ERPs


Within the field of selective attention, depression has long been associated with a mood-congruent processing bias which will distribute more resources to the highlighted social stimuli such as the negative information. Some researchers proposed that the sensitivity and the involvement to the negative information are the key factors for prolonging and intensifying depression. While this bias has been documented using a number of well-established paradigms ranging from the emotional Stroop, dot probe and exogenous cueing paradigms, this area has seen somewhat inconsistent results. On the basis of the current literature, it is fair to point that the more general attentional and cognitive control deficits associated with depression in tasks not involving natural negative mood, and that might be one of the factors which affect the results for depression. Furthermore, the remained conclusions are mostly from the behavioral data and the neuroscientific work in this area is lacking. In the current study, an event-related brain potentials experiment was carried out to investigate the emotional Stroop effect for the depression-related university students under the sad mood which was elicited by the sad film editing. The results showed that the depressed participants presented consistent tendency in P1 and N1 amplitude induced by the emotional words under the neutral mood or negative mood elicited by the film editing, not showing the Stroop effect. However, the error rate of neutral word was higher under the negative mood than in neutral situation for the normal participants, with the smaller P1 and larger N1 amplitudes induced by negative emotional words under sad film editing condition than under neutral condition, suggesting that the Stroop effect was observed for the normal participants. The results suggest that, under negative state mood, the depressed individuals show attention disengagement difficulties and insufficient resources. Therefore they cannot deal with emotional conflict very well. The possible underlying mechanisms of this deficiency might be due to the limited inhibition, shifting and updating processes of control attention interferes with the negative state mood. Furthermore, the results verify the impaired disengagement hypothesis of depression, and suggest that the depressed individuals are often predicted to be excessively involved in the state of sad mood during their control attention processing. For the depressed individuals, the deficit of the attention results in the involvement of much more resources to the sad mood so as to affect their emotional regulation. The dysfunction of the emotional regulation would further negatively affect their following cognitive processing. The current work provided the psychophysiological evidence for investigating the relation between attention and emotion for depression.

Keywords negative mood   depression   emotional Stroop task   impaired disengagement hypothesis   ERPs  
Received 2017-07-21 Revised 2018-02-07 Online: 2018-05-20 
Corresponding Authors: Jing-Xin WANG
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