Serotonergic Function, Two-Mode Models of Self-Regulation, and Vulnerability to Depression: What Depression Has in Common With Impulsive Aggression

Charles S Carver, Sheri L. Johnson, Jutta Joormann

258 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evidence from diverse literatures supports the viewpoint that two modes of self-regulation exist, a lower-order system that responds quickly to associative cues of the moment and a higher-order system that responds more reflectively and planfully; that low serotonergic function is linked to relative dominance of the lower-order system; that how dominance of the lower-order system is manifested depends on additional variables; and that low serotonergic function therefore can promote behavioral patterns as divergent as impulsive aggression and lethargic depression. Literatures reviewed include work on two-mode models; studies of brain function supporting the biological plausibility of the two-mode view and the involvement of serotonergic pathways in functions pertaining to it; and studies relating low serotonergic function to impulsiveness, aggression (including extreme violence), aspects of personality, and depression vulnerability. Substantial differences between depression and other phenomena reviewed are interpreted by proposing that depression reflects both low serotonergic function and low reward sensitivity. The article closes with brief consideration of the idea that low serotonergic function relates to even more diverse phenomena, whose natures depend in part on sensitivities of other systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-943
Number of pages32
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume134
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

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Keywords

  • depression
  • dual-process models
  • self-regulation
  • serotonin
  • two-mode models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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