Attention for emotional facial expressions in dysphoria: an eye-movement registration study.Cogn Emot. 2011 Jan; 25(1):111-20.CE
Former research demonstrated that depression is associated with dysfunctional attentional processing of emotional information. Most studies examined this bias by registration of response latencies. The present study employed an ecologically valid measurement of attentive processing, using eye-movement registration. Dysphoric and non-dysphoric participants viewed slides presenting sad, angry, happy and neutral facial expressions. For each type of expression, three components of visual attention were analysed: the relative fixation frequency, fixation time and glance duration. Attentional biases were also investigated for inverted facial expressions to ensure that they were not related to eye-catching facial features. Results indicated that non-dysphoric individuals were characterised by longer fixating and dwelling on happy faces. Dysphoric individuals demonstrated a longer dwelling on sad and neutral faces. These results were not found for inverted facial expressions. The present findings are in line with the assumption that depression is associated with a prolonged attentional elaboration on negative information.