Evidence against mood-congruent attentional bias in Major Depressive Disorder

Philip Cheng, Stephanie D. Preston, John Jonides, Alicia Hofelich Mohr, Kirti Thummala, Melynda Casement, Courtney Hsing, Patricia J. Deldin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Depression is consistently associated with biased retrieval and interpretation of affective stimuli, but evidence for depressive bias in earlier cognitive processing, such as attention, is mixed. In five separate experiments, individuals with depression (three experiments with clinically diagnosed major depression, two experiments with dysphoria measured via the Beck Depression Inventory) completed three tasks designed to elicit depressive biases in attention, including selective attention, attentional switching, and attentional inhibition. Selective attention was measured using a modified emotional Stroop task, while attentional switching and inhibition was examined via an emotional task-switching paradigm and an emotional counter task. Results across five different experiments indicate that individuals with depression perform comparably with healthy controls, providing corroboration that depression is not characterized by biases in attentional processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-505
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015


  • Attention
  • Cognitive science
  • Depression
  • Executive Function

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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