Attenuated LPP to Emotional Face Stimuli Associated with Parent- and Self-Reported Depression in Children and Adolescents
Individuals diagnosed with a depressive disorder have been found to show reduced reactions to emotional information consistent with the hypothesis of an emotional context insensitivity. However, there are contradictory findings of enhanced reactivity and mood-congruent processing. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings of the late positive potential (LPP) can display such blunted or enhanced activity. Due to these contradictory findings, there is a need to clarify the role of the LPP in the emergence and presence of depressive disorders especially in children. We used an emotional Go/NoGo task to investigate modulations of the LPP to emotional (fearful, happy, sad) and calm faces in a sample of children and adolescents (age 11;00–14;11) diagnosed with a depressive disorder according to diagnostic parent interviews (K-SADS-PL) (n = 26) compared to a group of age-matched healthy controls (n = 26). LPP positivity was attenuated in children and adolescents with a depressive disorder as well as with higher self-reported depressive symptoms, suggesting reduced reactivity to emotional and calm faces. This is the first study to find generally blunted LPP responses in a clinical sample of depressed youth across reporters. Such dysfunctional modulation of neural activity may represent a potential biomarker for depressive disorders. The results call for further prospective studies investigating the course of the LPP before and after the onset of a depressive disorder in youth.
KeywordsDepressive disorders Late positive potential (LPP) Blunted reaction Emotional faces
This study was supported by LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, Universität Leipzig. LIFE is funded by a grant from the European Union, by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and by a grant from the Free State of Saxony within the framework of the excellence initiative.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.
The study was approved by ethics committee of the Universität Leipzig.
Informed consent was provided by parents and children prior to the assessments.
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