Differential Effects of Emotionally Versus Neutrally Cued Autobiographical Memories on Performance of a Subsequent Cognitive Task: Effects of Task Difficulty.

Differential effects of emotionally versus neutrally cued autobiographical memories on performance of a subsequent cognitive task: effects of task difficulty.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Front Psychol. 2012; 3: 299
Young KD, Erickson K, Drevets WC

Attention is a limited resource, and in order to improve processing of the attended information, competing processes must be suppressed. Although it is well established that an experimentally induced change in mood state comprises one type of competing process that can impair performance on a subsequent task, no study has investigated whether an emotionally valenced autobiographical memory (AM) also can alter performance on a subsequent task. We therefore examined the effects of AM recall on cognitive performance. Healthy participants (n = 20 per experiment) recalled AMs in response to positive, negative, and neutral cue words. Following each AM participants completed a simple perceptual task (Experiment 1) or solved moderately difficult subtraction problems (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1 participants performed less accurately following exposure to positive or negative versus neutral cue words (ps < 0.001), and also were less accurate following negative versus positive cue words (p < 0.001). In Experiment 2, in contrast, no difference in accuracy or response times reached statistical significance. Performance accuracy even trended toward being higher following exposure to negative versus neutral cue words (p = 0.08). The results of Experiment 1 suggested that recalling emotionally salient AMs reduces the attention directed toward a simple continuous performance task administered immediately following the AM task, conceivably due to persistent contemplation of the AM. The negative results of Experiment 2 suggested that the effect of AMs on attention was attenuated, however, by increasing the difficulty of the subsequent task. Our results have implications for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), as performing cognitively demanding tasks may allow them to attenuate the impairing effects of negative rumination on cognition. HubMed – depression


Comprehensive behavioral analysis of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) knockout mice.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Front Behav Neurosci. 2012; 6: 58
Hattori S, Takao K, Tanda K, Toyama K, Shintani N, Baba A, Hashimoto H, Miyakawa T

Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a neuropeptide acting as a neurotransmitter, neuromodulator, or neurotrophic factor. PACAP is widely expressed throughout the brain and exerts its functions through the PACAP-specific receptor (PAC(1)). Recent studies reveal that genetic variants of the PACAP and PAC(1) genes are associated with mental disorders, and several behavioral abnormalities of PACAP knockout (KO) mice are reported. However, an insufficient number of backcrosses was made using PACAP KO mice on the C57BL/6J background due to their postnatal mortality. To elucidate the effects of PACAP on neuropsychiatric function, the PACAP gene was knocked out in F1 hybrid mice (C57BL/6J × 129SvEv) for appropriate control of the genetic background. The PACAP KO mice were then subjected to a behavioral test battery. PACAP deficiency had no significant effects on neurological screen. As shown previously, the mice exhibited significantly increased locomotor activity in a novel environment and abnormal anxiety-like behavior, while no obvious differences between genotypes were shown in home cage (HC) activity. In contrast to previous reports, the PACAP KO mice showed normal prepulse inhibition (PPI) and slightly decreased depression-like behavior. Previous study demonstrates that the social interaction (SI) in a resident-intruder test was decreased in PACAP KO mice. On the other hand, we showed that PACAP KO mice exhibited increased SI in Crawley’s three-chamber social approach test, although PACAP KO had no significant impact on SI in a HC. PACAP KO mice also exhibited mild performance deficit in working memory in an eight-arm radial maze (RM) and the T-maze (TM), while they did not show any significant abnormalities in the left-right discrimination task in the TM. These results suggest that PACAP has an important role in the regulation of locomotor activity, social behavior, anxiety-like behavior and, potentially, working memory.
HubMed – depression


Affective priming in major depressive disorder.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Front Integr Neurosci. 2012; 6: 76
Lemoult J, Yoon KL, Joormann J

Research on cognitive biases in depression has provided considerable evidence for the impact of emotion on cognition. Individuals with depression tend to preferentially process mood-congruent material and to show deficits in the processing of positive material leading to biases in attention, memory, and judgments. More research is needed, however, to fully understand which cognitive processes are affected. The current study further examines the impact of emotion on cognition using a priming design with facial expressions of emotion. Specifically, this study tested whether the presentation of facial expressions of emotion affects subsequent processing of affective material in participants with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls (CTL). Facial expressions displaying happy, sad, angry, disgusted, or neutral expressions were presented as primes for 500 ms, and participants’ speed to identify a subsequent target’s emotional expression was assessed. All participants displayed greater interference from emotional vs. neutral primes, marked by slower response times to judge the emotion of the target face when it was preceded by an emotional prime. Importantly, the CTL group showed the strongest interference when happy emotional expressions served as primes whereas the MDD group failed to show this bias. These results add to a growing literature that shows that depression is associated with difficulties in the processing of positive material.
HubMed – depression


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