Acutely elevated cortisol in response to stressor is associated with attentional bias toward depression-related stimuli but is not associated with attentional function

Hideki Tsumura, Hironori Shimada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cortisol induces attentional bias toward a negative stimulus and impaired attentional function. Depressed individuals have high levels of cortisol, and exhibit an attentional bias toward a depression-related stimulus and impaired processing speed and executive attention, which are components of attentional function. Therefore, the study tested the hypotheses that an acute increase in cortisol in response to a stressor is associated with attentional bias toward a depression-related stimulus and impaired processing speed and executive attention. Thirty-six participants were administered the dot-probe task for the measurement of attentional bias toward a depression-related stimulus and the Trail Making Test A and B for the measurement of processing speed and executive attention before and after a mental arithmetic task. It was revealed that attentional bias toward a depression-related stimulus following the stressor was observed only among the responders (i.e., participants with cortisol elevation in response to a stressor). On the other hand, no differences in the performance of processing speed and executive attention were noted between the responders and non-responders. The results indicate that acutely elevated cortisol is related to attentional bias, but is not related to processing speed and executive attention. The results have an implication for the etiology of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Attentional bias
  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Executive attention
  • Processing speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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