Rumination-content and Attention in Depression
Aquino, Jennifer M.
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Abstract Cognitive theories of emotional disorders predict that individuals suffering from an emotional disorder exhibit increased interference for stimuli that are idiosyncratic to their disorder (Williams, Mathews, & MacLeod, 1996). However, due to inconsistent results, there is debate as to whether attention disrupting effects for negative information occur in depression. Suitability of experimental stimuli employed to elicit attentional biases is a commonly cited limitation that may have contributed to these inconsistencies. The present investigation was designed to examine the influence of rumination on the operation of attentional biases in depression using a digit-parity task. Depressed and never-depressed participants were required to make a speeded judgement about the parity of two digits flanking a to-be-ignored centrally presented word. Depressed individuals displayed longer digit-parity response times for depression-relevant words relative to never-depressed individuals. Furthermore, depressed individuals displayed the longest digit-parity response times for word stimuli relevant to the idiosyncratic content of their ruminative thoughts. These findings highlight the importance of studying the idiosyncratic content of each depressed individuals ruminative themes when investigating attentional biases within this population.