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The specificity of Pavlovian regulation is associated with recovery from depression

Huys, QJ; Gölzer, M; Friedel, E; Heinz, A; Cools, R; Dayan, P; Dolan, RJ; (2016) The specificity of Pavlovian regulation is associated with recovery from depression. Psychological Medicine , 46 (5) pp. 1027-1035. 10.1017/S0033291715002597. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: The specificity of Pavlovian regulation is associated with recovery from depression
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002597
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291715002597
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Decision-making, Pavlovian-instrumental transfer, emotional reactions, major depressive disorder
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1481113
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