Hypomania and depression associated with distinct neural activity for immediate and future rewards

James E. Glazer*, Nicholas J. Kelley, Narun Pornpattananangkul, Robin Nusslock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bipolar spectrum and unipolar depressive disorders have been associated with distinct and opposite profiles of reward-related neural activity. These opposite profiles may reflect a differential preexisting vulnerability for both types of disorders. In support, recent ERP studies find that, following reward feedback, a larger reward positivity (RewP) is associated with greater vulnerability for bipolar spectrum disorders, whereas a smaller RewP is associated with greater vulnerability for depression. However, prior studies have investigated only immediate rewards and have not examined dimensions of both bipolar disorder and unipolar depression within the same sample. The present study is the first to investigate feedback-related ERP correlates of proneness to hypomania and unipolar depressive tendencies within the same sample and to expand our scope to include future rewards. Participants completed a modified time estimation task where the same monetary reward was available immediately or at one of five different future dates. Results revealed proneness to hypomania and unipolar depressive tendencies were related to an elevated and blunted RewP, respectively, but only following immediate rewards (i.e., today). Following rewards in the distant future (e.g., 8 months), proneness to hypomania and depressive tendencies were associated with elevated and blunted amplitudes for the P3, respectively, a subsequent ERP component reflecting motivational salience during extended feedback processing. Furthermore, these opposing profiles were independent of, and significantly different from, one another. These results suggest that feedback-related ERPs following immediate and future rewards are candidate biomarkers that can physiologically separate vulnerability for bipolar spectrum from unipolar depressive disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13301
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • ERPs
  • bipolar disorder
  • depression
  • individual differences
  • motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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