The present study investigated the interplay between attention and affective disposition during emotional processing in dysphoria. Attentional and affective startle modulation and cardiac deceleration were assessed during the viewing of emotional pictures in 38 individuals with dysphoria and in 52 controls. Startle probes during picture viewing were presented at 300, 1500, 3500, 4500 ms after picture onset. Whereas controls showed the expected startle potentiation to unpleasant stimuli as compared to neutral and pleasant ones, individuals with dysphoria did not show any significant increase in startle reflex amplitude in response to unpleasant stimuli. Of note, startle potentiation during the viewing of unpleasant stimuli was significantly attenuated in the group with dysphoria relative to controls. Conversely, no significant effect concerning attentional startle modulation was noted. However, whereas individuals with dysphoria showed a prolonged cardiac deceleration when viewing unpleasant compared to neutral stimuli, the same effect was observed in controls only in the initial stage of stimuli processing. This study suggests that dysphoria is characterized by underactivation of the defensive motivational system and by prolonged attentional allocation to unpleasant stimuli. The assessment of affective startle modulation and cardiac deceleration is a valuable paradigm for unraveling dysfunctions in affective disposition and attention in dysphoria.

Attention and affect in dysphoria: Insights from startle reflex modulation and cardiac deceleration

Messerotti Benvenuti S.
;
Buodo G.;Dal Bò E.;Palomba D.
2020

Abstract

The present study investigated the interplay between attention and affective disposition during emotional processing in dysphoria. Attentional and affective startle modulation and cardiac deceleration were assessed during the viewing of emotional pictures in 38 individuals with dysphoria and in 52 controls. Startle probes during picture viewing were presented at 300, 1500, 3500, 4500 ms after picture onset. Whereas controls showed the expected startle potentiation to unpleasant stimuli as compared to neutral and pleasant ones, individuals with dysphoria did not show any significant increase in startle reflex amplitude in response to unpleasant stimuli. Of note, startle potentiation during the viewing of unpleasant stimuli was significantly attenuated in the group with dysphoria relative to controls. Conversely, no significant effect concerning attentional startle modulation was noted. However, whereas individuals with dysphoria showed a prolonged cardiac deceleration when viewing unpleasant compared to neutral stimuli, the same effect was observed in controls only in the initial stage of stimuli processing. This study suggests that dysphoria is characterized by underactivation of the defensive motivational system and by prolonged attentional allocation to unpleasant stimuli. The assessment of affective startle modulation and cardiac deceleration is a valuable paradigm for unraveling dysfunctions in affective disposition and attention in dysphoria.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3341542
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 4
  • Scopus 10
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 8
social impact