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J Abnorm Psychol. 1989 May;98(2):177-86.

Cerebral laterality and depression: differences in perceptual asymmetry among diagnostic subtypes.


Examined the influence of diagnostic subtype of depression on perceptual asymmetry for dichotic listening and visual tachistoscopic tasks. A total of 65 unmedicated patients with major depressive disorders and 30 normal controls were tested on a verbal and nonverbal task in each modality. Patients diagnosed according to the DSM-III with melancholia had abnormal perceptual asymmetry for dichotic nonsense syllable and complex tone tasks. In contrast, patients having a nonmelancholic "atypical depression" (reactivity of mood with preserved pleasure capacity and associated features) did not differ from normal controls on these tasks, but had an increased incidence of left handedness. Bipolar depression (history of hypomania) differed from unipolar depression in showing abnormal perceptual asymmetry for a tachistoscopic dot enumeration task. Alterations of perceptual asymmetry in melancholia and bipolar depression were consistent with hypothesized right hemisphere dysfunction.

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