Selective Attention in Dysphoric Individuals: The Role of Affective Interference and Inhibition


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Abstract

The present study was designed to examine attentional functioning in dysphoric and nondysphoric individuals. A paradigm was used that permits an examination of processes involved in both affective interference and affective inhibition. While processing neutral stimuli, dysphoric participants exhibited both elevated interference and an inhibitory bias for negative, but not for positive, distractors. In contrast, nondysphoric participants did not demonstrate either interference for, or inhibition of, positive or negative distractors. Moreover, across all participants, level of interference was related to level of inhibition. Implications of these results for understanding the processing of emotional information in dysphoria and depression are discussed and directions for future research are advanced.

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