Original Article

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 552-569

First online:

Tendencies Toward Mania and Tendencies Toward Depression Have Distinct Motivational, Affective, and Cognitive Correlates

  • Charles S. CarverAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Miami Email author 
  • , Sheri L. JohnsonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of MiamiDepartment of Psychology, University of California

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Debate has emerged in the literature on mania, with some evidence suggesting that tendencies toward mania relate to negative emotional and cognitive styles, and other evidence suggesting that tendencies toward mania relate to positive emotional and cognitive styles. An initial study examined how tendencies toward mania (as measured by the Hypomanic Personality Scale) and tendencies toward depression (as measured by the Inventory to Diagnose Depression-Lifetime version) were related to diverse measures pertaining to incentive and threat motivations, negative and positive emotionality, and cognitive responses to emotion, among 238 undergraduates. Tendencies toward mania related to a self-reported pattern of reacting intensely to positive stimuli, both cognitively and emotionally, as well as lower sensitivity to threatening stimuli and less restraint over impulses. In contrast, tendencies toward depression related to a pattern of reacting more strongly to negative stimuli emotionally and cognitively, as well as deficits in the ability to savor positive affect. This pattern was re-confirmed in a second sample of 394 undergraduates, who completed many of the same measures plus a measure of current mood symptoms. This second sample confirmed that the pattern was not mood-state dependent. Implications for future research and clinical work are discussed, including an intriguing conceptual parallel in the distinct sets of correlates of depressive versus manic tendencies.


Bipolar disorder Mania Cognition Emotion Reward Threat