Mechanisms in Emotional Information Processing in Individuals with Major Depressive Disorder: An Event-Related Potential Study of an Information Processing Model

Daniel Kwasi Ahorsu, Ken Ho Ming Chung, Ho Hon Wong, Michael Gar Chung Yiu, Yat Fung Mok, Ka Shun Lei, Hector Wing Hong Tsang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Individuals with major depressive disorder have a cognitive bias toward emotional stimuli, which influences the quality and speed of emotional information processing. This study aimed to understand the factors underlying this bias by identifying when it occurs during information processing using an information processing model. Methods: A total of 57 participants-19 each [ (16 (84.21%) females and 3 (15.79%) males per group)], for the first-episode MDD (FMDD), recurrent episodes MDD (RMDD), and healthy controls (HCs)-matched for sex and hand preference, completed event-related potentials (ERP) to perform psychological function and a choice response time task. Results: Results revealed that recurrent episodes major depressive disorder participants had decreased N2b and P3b amplitudes but increased contingent negative variation during the processing of happy and neutral facial stimuli, relative to their counterparts. Both recurrent episodes major depressive disorder and first-episode major depressive disorder participants used a parallel information processing strategy for happy information at P3a latency, while healthy controls used a linear information processing strategy. Conclusion: The use of a parallel processing strategy among individuals with major depressive disorder may have led to impaired “happy” information processes, possibly explaining why individuals with major depressive disorder are less efficient than healthy controls. The results suggest the possibility that biases related to the processing of “happy” information among individuals with major depressive disorder may be related to a tendency for these individuals to engage in superficial decision-making. Future research is needed to examine the processes contributing to people with major depressive disorder having challenges with inhibition-facilitation of emotional stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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