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Impairments in mental model construction and benefits of defocused attention: distinctive facets of subclinical depression.

Von Hecker, Ulrich, Sedek, Grzegorz and Brzezicka, Aneta 2013. Impairments in mental model construction and benefits of defocused attention: distinctive facets of subclinical depression. European Psychologist 18 (1) , pp. 35-46. 10.1027/1016-9040/a000133

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Abstract

In this article, we examine the hypothesis that cognitive deficits in subclinical depression become especially evident in tasks that require the integration of piecemeal information into more coherent mental representations, such as mental models. It is argued that in states of subclinical depression, attempts at integrative thinking or problem solving are limited by cognitive exhaustion which prevents the use of effective cognitive strategies. This basic argument is illustrated by paradigms addressing the construction of mental models based on sentiment or linear order information. It is shown that subclinical depression is associated with a distinct deficit in integrative reasoning, but no deficits in non-integrative processing such as initial information sampling or memory retrieval. Recent evidence of a neurophysiological correlate of this specific deficit in subclinical depression is discussed in terms of the moderating role of frontal alpha asymmetry, and in terms of a specific pattern of parietal brain activation during processing of mental models. Also, a distinctive, not deficit-related, facet of depressed cognitive symptoms is proposed, indicating a possible adaptive value of defocused attention in subclinically depressed mood. This defocused attention approach is supported by experimental and eyetracking research, and by recent theoretical models and empirical evidence showing performance benefits in depression for some cognitive and creative tasks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Hogrefe & Huber
ISSN: 1016-9040
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:47
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/44767

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