Biased processing of emotional information in girls at risk for depression

Jutta Joormann, Lisa Talbot, Ian H. Gotlib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations


Researchers have documented that children of depressed mothers are at elevated risk for developing a depressive disorder themselves. There is currently little understanding, however, of what factors place these children at elevated risk. In the present study, the authors investigated whether never-disordered daughters whose mothers have experienced recurrent episodes of depression during their daughters' lifetime are characterized by biased processing of emotional information. Following a negative mood induction, participants completed an emotional-faces dot-probe task. Daughters at elevated risk for depression, but not control daughters of never-disordered mothers, selectively attended to negative facial expressions. In contrast, only control daughters selectively attended to positive facial expressions. These results provide support for cognitive vulnerability models of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Bias
  • Biased emotional information processing
  • Children
  • Depression
  • Elevated risk
  • Emotional facial expressions
  • Maternal depression
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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