Date: May 2013
Creator: Bain, Kathleen Marie
Description: Bipolar disorder is associated with significant social and occupational impairments, as well as increased risk for substance abuse and suicide. More research is needed to identify potential mechanisms associated with vulnerability to the disorder. Previous research has identified altered processing of emotional information in bipolar and bipolar-prone individuals, including attentional biases which appear to differ based on the current affective state of the individual. The current study applied a sensitive measure of attention (i.e., eye-tracking) to assess whether vulnerability to bipolar disorder, as indexed by hypomanic personality traits, would be correlated with biases in attention to emotional facial stimuli, independent of mood state. Hypomanic personality traits were hypothesized to be associated with greater attention to happy and angry faces, as indexed by faster initial orientation, more frequent gazes, and longer gaze duration for these stimuli. Participants completed self-report measures assessing current mood symptoms, positive and negative affect, and hypomanic personality traits. They then completed two tasks assessing attention for emotional faces. The first was an eye-tracking task, which measured latency to first fixation, total gaze duration and total number of gazes for each emotional face category. The second was a spatial cueing task which assessed both attentional engagement with emotional ...
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