Attention orientation to pleasantness and depressive symptomatology predict autonomic reactivity

Ranfaing, Stéphane, De Zorzi, Lucas De, Honoré, Jacques, Critchley, Hugo and Sequeira, Henrique (2021) Attention orientation to pleasantness and depressive symptomatology predict autonomic reactivity. Cognition and Emotion, 35 (6). pp. 1203-1213. ISSN 0269-9931

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (1MB)


Depression is characterised by attentional bias to emotional information and dysregulated autonomic reactivity. Despite its relevance to understanding depressive mechanisms, the association between attentional bias and autonomic reactivity to emotional information remains poorly characterised. This study compared behavioural and autonomic responses to emotional images in 32 participants in whom subclinical depressive symptomatology was quantified using the Beck Depression Inventory. Pairs of emotional and neutral images (unpleasant-neutral, U-N; pleasant-neutral, P-N; neutral-neutral, N-N) were presented while attentional indices (eye movements) and autonomic activity (skin conductance responses, SCRs; heart rate, HR) were recorded. Results showed that all recorded ocular parameters indicated a preferential orientation and maintenance of attention to emotional images. SCRs were associated with a valence effect on fixation latency: lower fixation latency to pleasant stimuli leads to lower SCRs whereas the opposite was observed for unpleasant stimuli. Finally, stepwise linear regression analysis revealed that latency of fixation to pleasant images and scores of depression predicted SCRs of participants. Thus, our research reveals an association between autonomic reactivity and attentional bias to pleasant information, on the one hand, and depressive symptomatology on the other. Present findings therefore suggest that depressive individuals may benefit from attention training towards pleasant information in association with autonomic biofeedback procedures.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Emotion, attention bias, autonomic responses, depression, eye movements, skin conductance, Attentional Bias, Emotions, Eye Movements, Heart Rate, Humans
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2022 12:59
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2022 16:37

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update