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The specificity of Pavlovian regulation is associated with recovery from depression


Huys, Q J M; Gölzer, M; Friedel, E; Heinz, A; Cools, R; Dayan, P; Dolan, Raymond J (2016). The specificity of Pavlovian regulation is associated with recovery from depression. Psychological Medicine, 46(5):1027-1035.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Changes in reflexive emotional responses are hallmarks of depression, but how emotional reflexes make an impact on adaptive decision-making in depression has not been examined formally. Using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) task, we compared the influence of affectively valenced stimuli on decision-making in depression and generalized anxiety disorder compared with healthy controls; and related this to the longitudinal course of the illness.
METHOD: A total of 40 subjects with a current DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of major depressive disorder, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, or a combination thereof, and 40 matched healthy controls performed a PIT task that assesses how instrumental approach and withdrawal behaviours are influenced by appetitive and aversive Pavlovian conditioned stimuli (CSs). Patients were followed up after 4-6 months. Analyses focused on patients with depression alone (n = 25).
RESULTS: In healthy controls, Pavlovian CSs exerted action-specific effects, with appetitive CSs boosting active approach and aversive CSs active withdrawal. This action-specificity was absent in currently depressed subjects. Greater action-specificity in patients was associated with better recovery over the follow-up period.
CONCLUSIONS: Depression is associated with an abnormal influence of emotional reactions on decision-making in a way that may predict recovery.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Changes in reflexive emotional responses are hallmarks of depression, but how emotional reflexes make an impact on adaptive decision-making in depression has not been examined formally. Using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) task, we compared the influence of affectively valenced stimuli on decision-making in depression and generalized anxiety disorder compared with healthy controls; and related this to the longitudinal course of the illness.
METHOD: A total of 40 subjects with a current DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of major depressive disorder, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, or a combination thereof, and 40 matched healthy controls performed a PIT task that assesses how instrumental approach and withdrawal behaviours are influenced by appetitive and aversive Pavlovian conditioned stimuli (CSs). Patients were followed up after 4-6 months. Analyses focused on patients with depression alone (n = 25).
RESULTS: In healthy controls, Pavlovian CSs exerted action-specific effects, with appetitive CSs boosting active approach and aversive CSs active withdrawal. This action-specificity was absent in currently depressed subjects. Greater action-specificity in patients was associated with better recovery over the follow-up period.
CONCLUSIONS: Depression is associated with an abnormal influence of emotional reactions on decision-making in a way that may predict recovery.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Decision-making; Pavlovian-instrumental transfer; emotional reactions; major depressive disorder
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:29 Apr 2016 16:22
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 18:29
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-2917
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291715002597
Official URL:http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10208258&fileId=S0033291715002597
PubMed ID:26841896

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