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Emotional Information Processing in Depressed Older Adults and College Students: Attention and Memory Biases

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2016, 29(4), pp.101-121
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

김유진 1 YEONWOOK KANG ORD ID 1

1한림대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Depressed young adults (YAs) show a “negative bias” to pay more attention to and remember negative information, consistent with their current mood. However, emotional information processing by depressed older adults (OAs) is still far from clear. OAs generally show a “positivity effect” in that they are more likely to process positive information than negative information. Then, would depressed OAs show a negative bias even with a positivity effect? This study was conducted to investigate the effect of depressive mood in the emotional information processing of OAs. A total of 51 YAs (age=21.43±1.40; 25 with depression, 26 without) and 51 OAs (age=68.86±2.22; 26 with derpession, 25 without) participated in the study. A computer-administered dot probe task and a recognition test that consisted of neutral or emotionally charged words and faces were administered. Overall, OAs had significantly greater attention and memory biases for positive stimuli than for negative or neutral ones, whereas YAs showed negative biases in attention and memory. However, OAs with depression had a significantly greater attentional bias for negative stimuli. In sum, similar to YAs with depression, OAs with depression demonstrate a negative emotional information processing bias, although affective optimization is a universal characteristic in OAs.

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