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    Previous studies have reported lowered implicit self-esteem at the behavioral level among depressed individuals. However, brain responses related to the lowered implicit self-esteem have not been investigated in people with depression. Here, event-related potentials were measured in 28 dysphoric participants (individuals with elevated amounts of depressive symptoms) and 30 control participants during performance of an implicit association task (IAT) suggested to reflect implicit self-esteem. Despite equivalent behavioral performance, differences in brain responses were observed between the dysphoric and the control groups in late positive component (LPC) within 400-1,000 ms poststimulus latency. For the dysphoric group, self-negativity mapping stimuli (me with negative word pairing and not-me with positive word pairing) induced significantly larger LPC amplitude as compared to self-positivity mapping stimuli (me with positive pairing and not-me with negative pairing), whereas the control group showed the opposite pattern. These results suggest a more efficient categorization toward implicit self-is-negative association, possibly reflecting lower implicit self-esteem among the dysphoric participants, in comparison to the controls. These results demonstrate the need for further investigation into the functional significance of LPC modulation during IAT and determination of whether LPC can be used as a neural marker of depressive-related implicit self-esteem. © 2021 Society for Psychophysiological Research.


    Yixue Lou, Yi Lei, Piia Astikainen, Weiwei Peng, Suzanne Otieno, Paavo H T Leppänen. Brain responses of dysphoric and control participants during a self-esteem implicit association test. Psychophysiology. 2021 Apr;58(4):e13768

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    PMID: 33538346

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