Valence-based Word-Face Stroop task reveals differential emotional interference in patients with major depression

Zeynep Başgöze, Ali Saffet Gönül, Bora Baskak, Didem Gökçay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Word-Face Stroop task creates emotional conflict between affective words and affective faces. In this task, healthy participants consistently slow down while responding to incongruent cases. Such interference related slowdown is associated with recruitment of inhibitory processes to eliminate task-irrelevant information. We created a valence-based Word-Face Stroop task, in which participants were asked to indicate whether the words in the foreground are positive, negative or neutral. Healthy participants were faster and more accurate than un-medicated patients with major depression disorder (MDD). In addition, a significant congruence by group interaction is observed: healthy participants slowed down for incongruent cases, but MDD patients did not. Furthermore, for the negative words, healthy individuals made more errors while responding to incongruent cases but MDD patients made the lowest number of errors for this category. The emotional percepts of the patients were intact, because correct response rates in word valence judgments for positive/negative words, and reaction times for happy/sad faces had similar patterns with those of controls. These findings are supported by the analytical rumination interpretation of depression: patients lose speed/accuracy in laboratory tasks due to processing load spent during continuous rumination. However, for tasks in line with their preoccupation, continual practice makes the patients more vigilant and adept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9084
Pages (from-to)960-967
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 30 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data collection in this study is partially funded by TUBITAK project 109E081 , and by BAP institutional funds of METU .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Analytical rumination
  • Emotional interference
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Negative bias
  • Word-Face Stroop


Dive into the research topics of 'Valence-based Word-Face Stroop task reveals differential emotional interference in patients with major depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this