Attentional bias and general orienting processes in bipolar disorder

E.M.M. Jongen*, F.T.Y. Smulders, S.M.G. Ranson, B. Arts, L. Krabbendam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Attentional biases for emotional stimuli and general orienting processes were examined in bipolar disorder, using a modified dot-probe task with a spatial cueing paradigm incorporated in it. Bipolar patients in a euthymic state (i.e., remission), bipolar patients in a mildly depressed state, and non-psychiatric controls participated. General orienting results showed that within the patient group as a whole, measures of depressed mood were positively associated with a relative inability to disengage attention. Attentional bias results showed that bipolar patients in a mildly depressed state, in comparison with controls, directed their attention away from depression-related words and positive words. The bias away from positive words was equally present in both patient groups and part of a trait effect, demonstrated by the comparison of patients in a euthymic state and controls. The bias away from depression-related words was mood state-dependent and within the patient group as a whole correlated negatively with measures of depressed mood. It is proposed that biases for emotional stimuli are related to the transition of mood states, characteristic for bipolar disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-183
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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