ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 4, 399-413, 2014
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An Eye Tracking Study of the Time Course of Attention to Positive and Negative Images in Dysphoric and Non-dysphoric Individuals

  Jody Arndt - Department of Psychology, University of Calgary
  Kristin Newman - Department of Psychology, University of Calgary
  Christopher Sears - Department of Psychology, University of Calgary

Volume 5, Issue 4, 2014, Pages 399-413

Researchers studying selective attention in depressed and dysphoric individuals have documented biases in the allocation of attention to emotional information (Gotlib & Joormann, 2010; Yiend, 2010). Recent studies using eye gaze tracking have shown that when images are presented for extended durations (5-30 seconds), depressed and dysphoric individuals attend to depression-related images more than never depressed individuals and attend to positive images less (Armstrong & Olatunji, 2012). The present study used eye gaze tracking and time course analyses to look for differences between dysphoric and non-dysphoric individuals in their attention to emotional images over time. Participants viewed sets of four images (a depression-related image, a threat-related image, a positive image, and a neutral image) while their eye fixations were tracked and recorded throughout a 10-second presentation. The time course analyses, which divided each 10-second presentation into 2-second intervals, revealed that group differences in attention to positive and depression-related images emerged only after 4 seconds had elapsed and then persisted for the remainder of the 10-second presentation. Dysphoric and nondysphoric participants were further distinguished by the temporal profiles of their attention to positive and depression-related images. The implications for researchers' understanding of attention to emotion in dysphoria and depression are discussed.

Table of Contents
 The Present Research
 Data Screening and Preparation
 Number of Fixations and Total Fixation Times over the 10-second Presentation
 Time Course Analyses
 Trend Analyses
General Discussion
 Limitations and Directions for Future Research

Correspondence to
Christopher Sears, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4.

Dysphoria, Depression, Attention, Emotion, Eye Tracking, Time Course

Received 23 Mar 2013; Revised 17 Dec 2013; Accepted 23 Dec 2013; In Press 14 Dec 2014

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