Emotion regulation abnormalities in schizophrenia: directed attention strategies fail to decrease the neurophysiological response to unpleasant stimuli

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From: Journal of Abnormal Psychology(Vol. 124, Issue 2)
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 269 words

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Abstract :

Previous research provides evidence that individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) have emotion regulation abnormalities, particularly when attempting to use reappraisal to decrease negative emotion. The current study extended this literature by examining the effectiveness of a different form of emotion regulation, directed attention, which has been shown to be effective at reducing negative emotion in healthy individuals. Participants included outpatients with SZ (n = 28) and healthy controls (CN: n = 25), who viewed unpleasant and neutral images during separate event-related potential and eye-movement tasks. Trials included both passive viewing and directed attention segments. During directed attention, gaze was directed toward highly arousing aspects of an unpleasant image, less arousing aspects of an unpleasant image, or a nonarousing aspect of a neutral image. The late positive potential (LPP) event-related potential component indexed emotion regulation success. Directing attention to nonarousing aspects of unpleasant images decreased the LPP in CN; however, SZ showed similar LPP amplitude when attention was directed toward more or less arousing aspects of unpleasant scenes. Eye tracking indicated that SZ were more likely than CN to attend to arousing portions of unpleasant scenes when attention was directed toward less arousing scene regions. Furthermore, pupilary data suggested that SZ patients failed to engage effortful cognitive processes needed to inhibit the prepotent response of attending to arousing aspects of unpleasant scenes when attention was directed toward nonarousing scene regions. Findings add to the growing literature indicating that individuals with SZ display emotion regulation abnormalities and provide novel evidence that dysfunctional emotion-attention interactions and generalized cognitive control deficits are associated with ineffective use of directed attention strategies to regulate negative emotion.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A421608764