Depressive symptoms are characterized by reduced cognitive control. However, it remains unclear whether depressive symptoms are linked to a difficulty in exerting cognitive control in general or specifically over emotional content. To better differentiate between affective interference or general cognitive control difficulties in depressive symptoms, the present study employed a non-emotional (cold) and an emotional (hot) version of a task-switching paradigm in a non-clinical sample of young adults (n = 82) with varying levels of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms were linked to greater difficulties in exerting cognitive control in complex (mixed-task blocks) vs. simple and semi-automatic situations (single-task blocks), in both task versions. Moreover, greater depressive symptoms were associated with longer latencies in the emotional version of the task across all trial types. Thus, the emotion-specific effect was not modulated by the degree of cognitive control required to perform the task. Taken together, depressive symptoms were characterized by a general difficulty in exerting cognitive control in both emotional and non-emotional contexts and by a more extended difficulty in even simple attentional processing of emotional material. The current study granted novel insights on the extent of cognitive control difficulties in emotional and non-emotional contexts in depressive symptoms.

Depressive Symptoms and Cognitive Control: the Role of Affective Interference

Dell'Acqua, Carola
;
Messerotti Benvenuti, Simone;Vallesi, Antonino;Palomba, Daniela;Ambrosini, Ettore
2022

Abstract

Depressive symptoms are characterized by reduced cognitive control. However, it remains unclear whether depressive symptoms are linked to a difficulty in exerting cognitive control in general or specifically over emotional content. To better differentiate between affective interference or general cognitive control difficulties in depressive symptoms, the present study employed a non-emotional (cold) and an emotional (hot) version of a task-switching paradigm in a non-clinical sample of young adults (n = 82) with varying levels of depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms were linked to greater difficulties in exerting cognitive control in complex (mixed-task blocks) vs. simple and semi-automatic situations (single-task blocks), in both task versions. Moreover, greater depressive symptoms were associated with longer latencies in the emotional version of the task across all trial types. Thus, the emotion-specific effect was not modulated by the degree of cognitive control required to perform the task. Taken together, depressive symptoms were characterized by a general difficulty in exerting cognitive control in both emotional and non-emotional contexts and by a more extended difficulty in even simple attentional processing of emotional material. The current study granted novel insights on the extent of cognitive control difficulties in emotional and non-emotional contexts in depressive symptoms.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3456405
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