Projects per year
Methods: Participants from Generation Scotland (N=1,179) completed three affective tasks: (i) Bristol Emotion Recognition Task (BERT), (ii) Face Affective Go/No-go (FAGN), and (iii) adapted Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT). Individuals were classified as MDD-current (n=43), MDD-remitted (n=282), or non-MDD controls (n=784). Main analyses tested associations between summary affective bias measures and depressive symptoms (across the entire sample), and between MDD-remitted versus controls. Exploratory analyses examined responses in more detail per condition.
Results: We report a significant association between increasing depressive symptom severity and lower CGT win risk adjustment (standardised coefficient =-0.02, p=0.03). This attenuated when non-affective cognition (g) was accounted for and when restricting analysis to those not currently taking antidepressant medication. The main analysis revealed no further affective biases, including for the comparison of MDD-remitted versus controls. Exploratory analyses however revealed a complex pattern of subtle negative biases associated with depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: Individuals with high depressive symptom scores showed reduced motivation for reward; they were less likely to bet more points under increasingly favourable win conditions. This was partially explained by non-affective cognition and antidepressant use. Results from this community-based sample showed limited evidence for overarching facial affective processing impairments in MDD, though subtle negative biases related to symptom severity appeared in the exploratory analyses.
- Major Depressive Disorder
- affective cognition
- negative bias
- emotion recognition
- facial processing