Altered negative unconscious processing in major depressive disorder

An exploratory neuropsychological study

Zhi Yang, Jinping Zhao, Yi Jiang, Chunbo Li, Jijun Wang, Xuchu Weng, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been characterized by abnormalities in emotional processing. However, what remains unclear is whether MDD also shows deficits in the unconscious processing of either positive or negative emotions. We conducted a psychological study in healthy and MDD subjects to investigate unconscious emotion processing and its valence-specific alterations in MDD patients. Methods: We combined a well established paradigm for unconscious visual processing, the continuous flash suppression, with positive and negative emotional valences to detect the attentional preference evoked by the invisible emotional facial expressions. Results: Healthy subjects showed an attentional bias for negative emotions in the unconscious condition while this valence bias remained absent in MDD patients. In contrast, this attentional bias diminished in the conscious condition for both healthy subjects and MDD. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate for the first time valence-specific deficits specifically in the unconscious processing of emotions in MDD; this may have major implications for subsequent neurobiological investigations as well as for clinical diagnosis and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21881
JournalPLoS One
Volume6
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Major Depressive Disorder
emotions
Processing
Emotions
continuous systems
Healthy Volunteers
Facial Expression
therapeutics
Unconscious (Psychology)
Psychology
methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Altered negative unconscious processing in major depressive disorder : An exploratory neuropsychological study. / Yang, Zhi; Zhao, Jinping; Jiang, Yi; Li, Chunbo; Wang, Jijun; Weng, Xuchu; Northoff, Georg.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 6, No. 7, e21881, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yang, Zhi ; Zhao, Jinping ; Jiang, Yi ; Li, Chunbo ; Wang, Jijun ; Weng, Xuchu ; Northoff, Georg. / Altered negative unconscious processing in major depressive disorder : An exploratory neuropsychological study. In: PLoS One. 2011 ; Vol. 6, No. 7.
@article{05047aa3e9074112a070de47d9cdcb47,
title = "Altered negative unconscious processing in major depressive disorder: An exploratory neuropsychological study",
abstract = "Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been characterized by abnormalities in emotional processing. However, what remains unclear is whether MDD also shows deficits in the unconscious processing of either positive or negative emotions. We conducted a psychological study in healthy and MDD subjects to investigate unconscious emotion processing and its valence-specific alterations in MDD patients. Methods: We combined a well established paradigm for unconscious visual processing, the continuous flash suppression, with positive and negative emotional valences to detect the attentional preference evoked by the invisible emotional facial expressions. Results: Healthy subjects showed an attentional bias for negative emotions in the unconscious condition while this valence bias remained absent in MDD patients. In contrast, this attentional bias diminished in the conscious condition for both healthy subjects and MDD. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate for the first time valence-specific deficits specifically in the unconscious processing of emotions in MDD; this may have major implications for subsequent neurobiological investigations as well as for clinical diagnosis and therapy.",
author = "Zhi Yang and Jinping Zhao and Yi Jiang and Chunbo Li and Jijun Wang and Xuchu Weng and Georg Northoff",
year = "2011",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0021881",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Altered negative unconscious processing in major depressive disorder

T2 - An exploratory neuropsychological study

AU - Yang, Zhi

AU - Zhao, Jinping

AU - Jiang, Yi

AU - Li, Chunbo

AU - Wang, Jijun

AU - Weng, Xuchu

AU - Northoff, Georg

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been characterized by abnormalities in emotional processing. However, what remains unclear is whether MDD also shows deficits in the unconscious processing of either positive or negative emotions. We conducted a psychological study in healthy and MDD subjects to investigate unconscious emotion processing and its valence-specific alterations in MDD patients. Methods: We combined a well established paradigm for unconscious visual processing, the continuous flash suppression, with positive and negative emotional valences to detect the attentional preference evoked by the invisible emotional facial expressions. Results: Healthy subjects showed an attentional bias for negative emotions in the unconscious condition while this valence bias remained absent in MDD patients. In contrast, this attentional bias diminished in the conscious condition for both healthy subjects and MDD. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate for the first time valence-specific deficits specifically in the unconscious processing of emotions in MDD; this may have major implications for subsequent neurobiological investigations as well as for clinical diagnosis and therapy.

AB - Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been characterized by abnormalities in emotional processing. However, what remains unclear is whether MDD also shows deficits in the unconscious processing of either positive or negative emotions. We conducted a psychological study in healthy and MDD subjects to investigate unconscious emotion processing and its valence-specific alterations in MDD patients. Methods: We combined a well established paradigm for unconscious visual processing, the continuous flash suppression, with positive and negative emotional valences to detect the attentional preference evoked by the invisible emotional facial expressions. Results: Healthy subjects showed an attentional bias for negative emotions in the unconscious condition while this valence bias remained absent in MDD patients. In contrast, this attentional bias diminished in the conscious condition for both healthy subjects and MDD. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate for the first time valence-specific deficits specifically in the unconscious processing of emotions in MDD; this may have major implications for subsequent neurobiological investigations as well as for clinical diagnosis and therapy.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79960028977&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79960028977&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0021881

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0021881

M3 - Article

VL - 6

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 7

M1 - e21881

ER -