Spatial affect learning restricted in major depression relative to anxiety disorders and healthy controls

Jackie K. Gollan, Catherine J. Norris, Denada Hoxha, John Stockton Irick, Louise C. Hawkley, John T. Cacioppo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Detecting and learning the location of unpleasant or pleasant scenarios, or spatial affect learning, is an essential skill that safeguards well-being (Crawford & Cacioppo, 2002). Potentially altered by psychiatric illness, this skill has yet to be measured in adults with and without major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders (AD). This study enrolled 199 adults diagnosed with MDD and AD (n=53), MDD (n=47), AD (n=54), and no disorders (n=45). Measures included clinical interviews, self-reports, and a validated spatial affect task using affective pictures (IAPS; Lang, Bradley, & Cuthbert, 2005). Participants with MDD showed impaired spatial affect learning of negative stimuli and irrelevant learning of pleasant pictures compared with non-depressed adults. Adults with MDD may use a "GOOD is UP" heuristic reflected by their impaired learning of the opposite correlation (i.e., "BAD is UP") and performance in the pleasant version of the task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Major depression
  • Spatial affect learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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