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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00060

Decreased Response to Positive Facial Affect in a Depressed Cohort in the Dorsal Striatum During a Working Memory Task – A preliminary fMRI study.

  • 1Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • 3La Trobe University, Australia

People with depression have shown alterations in processing emotional information and working memory functionality. There is some evidence that emotional content may interact with working memory update processes, however neurological correlates are current unknown. In this preliminary study we utilised a novel version of the emotional variant of the n-back working memory task in fMRI. We examined BOLD response of 14 healthy controls and 13 depressed participants in response to happy, sad and neutral displays of facial affect. No accuracy or reaction time differences were found between the two groups. The depressed group showed significantly decreased BOLD response to happy faces compared to the control group areas of the dorsal striatum and anterior cingulate. Significant, moderate, positive correlations were found between right caudate activation with anxiety score and anterior cingulate activation with depression score in those with depression. Our novel task was able to elicit group level differences in emotional processing during working memory update. These results suggest those with depression fail to differentiate between positive emotional stimuli and stimuli with no emotional content.

Keywords: fMRI, working memory, emotional processing, dorsal striatum, Depression, n-back

Received: 02 Aug 2018; Accepted: 28 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Qinghua He, Southwest University, China

Reviewed by:

Mingxia Zhang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Haichao Zhao, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, China  

Copyright: © 2019 Goodin, Lamp, Hughes, Rossell and Ciorciari. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Peter Goodin, Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne, Neurology, Parkville, 3052, VIC, Australia, peter.goodin@unimelb.edu.au