Information processing in depression (DepBrain)

Depression is a common mental disorder, which causes tremendous personal suffering and disability. In addition to depressed mood and other symptoms, depression is also known to be associated with changes in cognitive information processing. For example, in depression individual’s attention is especially directed to negative cues in environment, such as sad facial expressions. However the neural basis of the information processing bias is not well understood.

Here we aim to study the information processing bias in depression by combining clinical information with brain activation measurements and information from cognitive tests. The brain activity is measured with magnetoencephalography (MEG), while the participants are presented with pictures of facial expressions, pure tones and somatosensory stimuli. By investigating the function of different sensory systems and their relationships to different cognitive profiles and clinical information, we aim to provide information that can be used in the future in detecting early neural signs of depression. The project’s results can in a long run be utilized in developing psychological treatments for depression.

Read more about Active Mind Lab.

Project team

  • PI Dr. Piia Astikainen, PhD, Department of Psychology (Principal Investigator)
  • Qianru Xu
  • Elisa Ruohonen
  • Xueqiao Li

Project publications:

  • Xu Q, Ruohonen E, Ye C, Li X, Kreegipuu K, Stefanics G, Luo W, Astikainen P. 2018. Automatic Processing of Changes in Facial Emotions in Dysphoria: A Magnetoencephalography Study. Frontiers in human neuroscience: 4;12:186