Mood-Related Negative Bias in Response to Affective Stimuli in Patients with Major Depression


Background: The study focuses on the type and degree of impairment in the processing of affective faces and scenes in patients afflicted with major depression (MD). We investigated effects of emotional traits, gender, depression severity, and cognitive performance. Method: Thirty MD patients (15 men, 15 women) and 30 healthy controls were presented with pictures of emotional facial expressions and affective scenes. They were asked to estimate the intensity and allocation of the emotions expressed by the faces as well as the elicited emotions by the scenes. Results: MD patients showed a broad impairment of emotion recognition. Patients’ responses to happy faces suggested a negativity bias, which also became evident in the perception of emotional scenes. The negativity bias was stronger in male than female patients. Depression severity was negatively related to experience of happiness. Patient’s lower cognitive performance was associated with allocation accuracy of angry and disgusted faces. Conclusions: Our findings show accordance with the mood-congruency hypothesis. Depression treatment should put increased focus to the association between negative mood bias and social functioning.

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Ille, R. , Hofmann, P. , Ebner, C. & Kapfhammer, H. (2013). Mood-Related Negative Bias in Response to Affective Stimuli in Patients with Major Depression. Open Journal of Depression, 2, 64-71. doi: 10.4236/ojd.2013.24012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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