Interpretation of ambiguous social scenarios in social phobia and depression: Evidence from event-related brain potentials

Jason S. Moser*, Jonathan D. Huppert, Edna B. Foa, Robert F. Simons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the current study, event-related potentials (ERPs) and behavioral responses were measured in individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for social phobia, depression, their combination, or neither in order to examine the unique and combined effects of social phobia and depression on the interpretation of ambiguous social scenarios. ERPs revealed a lack of positive interpretation bias and some suggestion of a negative bias in the semantic expectancy N4 component across all clinical groups. Furthermore, socially phobic and comorbid individuals showed reductions in baseline attention allocation to the task, as indexed by P6 amplitude. RT and accuracy likewise revealed a lack of positive interpretation bias across disordered groups. When considered on a continuum across all samples, social phobia and depression symptoms were related to the N4 interpretation bias effect whereas P6 amplitude reduction and RT interpretation bias appeared uniquely associated with social phobia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume89
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Benjamin Loew for his help with data collection. This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) predoctoral fellowship MH077388 (to Jason S. Moser) and by early career award K23MH064491 (to Jonathan D. Huppert).

Keywords

  • Depression
  • ERPs
  • Event-related potentials
  • Interpretation bias
  • Social phobia

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