Posts Tagged ‘Binghamton University’

Pupil dilation in reaction to negative emotional faces predicts risk for depression relapse, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Researchers at Binghamton University, led by PhD student Anastacia Kudinova, aimed to examine whether physiological reactivity to emotional stimuli, assessed via pupil dilation, served as a biological marker of risk for depression recurrence among individuals who are known to be at a higher risk due to having previous history of depression. Participants were 57 women with a history of major depressive disorder (MDD). The researchers recorded the change in pupil dilation in response to angry, happy, sad and neutral faces. The team found that women’s pupillary reactivity to negative (sad or angry faces) but not positive stimuli prospectively predicted MDD recurrence.

“The study focuses on trying to identify certain markers of depression risk using measures that are readily accessible, reliable and less expensive,” said Kudinova. “It is something we can put in any doctor’s office that gives us a quick and easy objective measure of risk.”

Additionally, the researchers found that both high and low reactivity to angry faces predicted risk for MDD recurrence. These findings suggest that disrupted physiological response to negative stimuli indexed via pupillary dilation could serve as a physiological marker of MDD risk, thus presenting clinicians with a convenient and inexpensive method to predict which of the at-risk women are more likely to experience depression recurrence.

“It’s a bit complicated because different patterns of findings were found for pupil reactivity to angry versus sad faces. Specifically, really high or really low pupil dilation to angry faces was associated with increased risk whereas only low dilation to sad faces was associated with risk (high dilation to sad faces was actually protective),” said Brandon Gibb, professor of psychology at Binghamton University and director of the Mood Disorders Institute and Center for Affective Science.

Other contributors to this research include Katie Burkhouse and Mary Woody, both PhD students; Max Owens, assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg; and Greg Siegle, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The paper, “Pupillary reactivity to negative stimuli prospectively predicts recurrence of major depressive disorder in women,” was published in Psychophysiology.

https://www.binghamton.edu/mpr/news-releases/news-release.html?id=2448

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Up to 80 percent of individuals with a past history of depression will get depressed again in the future. However, little is known about the specific factors that put these people at risk. New research suggests that it may be due to the things you pay attention to in your life.

Researchers at Binghamton University recruited 160 women—60 with a past history of depression, 100 with no history of depression. They showed each woman a series of two faces, one with a neutral expression and the other with either an angry, sad or happy expression. Using eye-tracking, they found that women with a past history of depression paid more attention to the angry faces. More importantly, among women with a history of prior depression, those who tended to look the most at the angry faces were at greatest risk for developing depression again over the next two years.

“If you’re walking around day to day, your attention will just be drawn to certain things and you’ll tend to look at some things more than others. What we showed is if your attention is drawn to people who appear to be angry with you or critical of you, then you’re at risk for depression,” said Brandon Gibb, professor of psychology at Binghamton University and director of the Mood Disorders Institute and Center for Affective Science.

“I think the most interesting thing about this is that we followed these women for two years, and the women who are paying attention to angry faces are the most likely to become depressed again, and they become depressed in the

shortest amount of time. So they’re at greatest risk,” said graduate student and lead author of the study Mary Woody. “We might be able to identify women who are at greatest risk for future depression just by something as simple as how they pay attention to different emotional expressions in their world.”

To address these types of attentional biases, computer programs and games are being used to retrain peoples’ attention. This approach has shown promise in the treatment of anxiety and is now being tested as a treatment for depression. Woody said that, by showing the important role that attentional biases play in depression risk, this new research highlights the promise of these types of attention retraining programs.

“It’s a very important first step in developing a new line of treatment for people who are at risk for depression and for who currently have depression,” Woody said.

“Some people might be able to use this instead of traditional therapy or could use it as an adjunct to traditional treatment,” Gibb added.
The study, “Selective Attention toward Angry Faces and Risk for Major Depressive Disorder in Women: Converging Evidence from Retrospective and Prospective Analyses,” was published in Clinical Psychological Science.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-attention-angry-future-depression.html