Euthymic patients with predominantly manic polarity avoid happy faces in a dot probe task

  • Background: Some studies suggest a mood-congruent attentional bias in bipolar patients. However, for euthymic patients, especially in dependence on the predominant polarity, there is little and inconsistent data. A clearer understanding of emotion-related attentional biases and their relationship to dysfunctional emotion regulation could help improving the diagnostics and treatment of bipolar disorder (BD). Twenty bipolar patients in a depressive state (BP-acute-D), 32 euthymic patients with manic (BP-euth-M) or depressive (BP-euth-D) predominant polarity, and 20 healthy control participants (HC) performed a dot-probe task (DPT) with happy and sad faces presented for 250 ms or 1250 ms in two different runs. Emotion regulation strategies were assessed with two questionnaires. Results: In the short presentation condition of the DPT, BP-euth-M showed less attention for happy faces than HC (p = .03, r = − 0.48). BP-acute-D scored lower in cognitive reappraisal and putting into perspective and higher in suppression, catastrophizing, and rumination than HC. BP-euth-M scored higher in rumination and BP-euth-D lower in putting into perspective and higher in catastrophizing than HC. In BP-euth-D and HC, bias scores for sad faces in the longer presentation condition and reappraisal scores correlated positively. Conclusions: Results of the DPT suggest an avoidance of happy faces for BP-euth-M which we interpret as a protection mechanism for triggers of mania. That individuals who apply more reappraisal show more selective attention to sad faces could on the one hand reflect a mental effort in reevaluating the sad emotional input and on the other hand a greater tolerance for it.

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Author:Martina WenzelORCiDGND, Heike AlthenGND, Veeh Julia, Andreas ReifORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):International Journal of Bipolar Disorders
Place of publication:Berlin ; Heidelberg
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/06/23
Date of first Publication:2022/06/23
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/04/03
Tag:Attentional bias; Bipolar disorder; Dot-probe task; Emotion regulation; Euthymic phase; Predominant polarity
Issue:art. 16
Article Number:16
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
The experiment was financed by a grant of the German Excellence Initiative to the Graduate School of Life Sciences, University of Wuerzburg, to JV, as well as by the grants DFG SFB 1193 Z03 and BMBF BipoLife to AR.
The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International