Association between positive emotion regulation strategies and the reward positivity
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Emotion regulation dysfunction is a core feature of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Recently, research has begun to focus on positive emotion regulation strategies such as dampening and savoring of positive emotion. Dampening has been associated with higher depressive symptoms, higher symptoms of anhedonia, higher negative affect, and lower positive affect, whereas savoring has been associated with well-being and lower depressive symptoms. A separate area of MDD research -- reward processing and its neural correlates -- has yielded a similar pattern of findings. A blunted response to rewards has beenrepeatedly associated with depression in both behavioral and psychophysiological studies. In Event-Related Potential (ERP) studies, this blunted response is captured by the ERP component, Reward Positivity (RewP). The current study aims to examine the psychophysiological underpinnings of depression and its association with dysfunctional reward processing by exploring the RewP's relationship with positive emotion regulation strategies. N=100 participants completed two computerized gambling tasks while ERPs were recorded, as well as a battery of questionnaires assessing a variety of depressive symptoms and emotion regulation strategies. Consistent with previous literature, dampening was associated with higher depressive symptoms, while savoring was associated with lower depressive symptoms. Interestingly, the RewP response was largely unassociated with depressive symptoms and emotion regulation strategies. However, there is some evidence that the RewP is malleable with a simple savoring intervention. Such findings may provide insight into the underpinnings of depression and have implications for clinical prevention and intervention efforts for MDD.
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