Visuospatial and mathematical dysfunction in major depressive disorder and/or panic disorder: A study of parietal functioning

Brady D. Nelson, Stewart A Shankman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The parietal cortex is critical for several different cognitive functions, including visuospatial processing and mathematical abilities. There is strong evidence indicating parietal dysfunction in depression. However, it is less clear whether anxiety is associated with parietal dysfunction and whether comorbid depression and anxiety are associated with greater impairment. The present study compared participants with major depression (MDD), panic disorder (PD), comorbid MDD/PD and controls on neuropsychological measures of visuospatial processing, Judgement of Line Orientation (JLO), and mathematical abilities, Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) Arithmetic. Only comorbid MDD/PD was associated with decreased performance on JLO, whereas all psychopathological groups exhibited comparably decreased performance on WRAT Arithmetic. Furthermore, the results were not accounted for by other comorbid disorders, medication use or psychopathology severity. The present study suggests comorbid depression and anxious arousal are associated with impairment in visuospatial processing and provides novel evidence indicating mathematical deficits across depression and/or anxiety. Implications for understanding parietal dysfunction in internalising psychopathology are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-429
Number of pages13
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mathematical abilities
  • Parietal cortex
  • Visuospatial processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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