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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006 Nov;47(11):1107-15.

Processing emotional facial expressions influences performance on a Go/NoGo task in pediatric anxiety and depression.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. ladouceurcd@upmc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study investigated whether processing emotionally salient information such as emotional facial expressions influences the performance on a cognitive control task in pediatric anxiety and depression.

METHODS:

The sample included 68 participants between 8 and 16 years of age selected into three diagnostic groups: Anxiety Disorder (ANX, n = 23), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD, n = 19), and Low-Risk Normal Control (LRNC, n = 26). Participants completed an Emotional Go/NoGo task in which participants must either respond to (Go trials) or not respond to (NoGo trials) specific facial expressions (angry, fearful, sad, happy, neutral). In order to manipulate the level of cognitive control needed to perform the task, the probability of occurrence of the Go trials was varied across 3 probability conditions (low, moderate, high).

RESULTS:

Analyses showed that the MDD group had significantly faster reaction times to sad face Go trials embedded in neutral face NoGo trials in the moderate probability condition and that the ANX group had significantly slower reaction times to neutral face Go trials embedded in angry face NoGo trials in the low probability condition.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data demonstrate that processing emotional facial expressions influences the performance on a cognitive control task in children and adolescents diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and major depression.

PMID:
17076749
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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