Attentional bias in clinical depression and anxiety: The impact of emotional and non-emotional distracting information Academic Article uri icon


  • Both anxiety and major depression disorder (MDD) were reported to involve a maladaptive selective attention mechanism, associated with bias toward negative stimuli. Previous studies investigated attentional bias using distractors that required processing as part of task settings, and therefore, in our view, these distractors should be regarded as task-relevant. Here, we applied a unique task that used peripheral distractors that presented emotional and spatial information simultaneously. Notably, the emotional information was not associated in any way to the task, and thus was task-irrelevant. The spatial information, however, was task-relevant as it corresponded with task instructions. Corroborating previous findings, anxious patients showed attentional bias toward negative information. MDD patients showed no indication of this bias. Spatial information influenced all groups …

publication date

  • January 1, 2017