Rumination about negative experiences is widely viewed as a transdiagnostic process underlying various forms of psychopathology that involve emotion dysregulation. Cognitive models highlight the role of attentional control and emotional biases in the development and maintenance of rumination. We suggest that the temporality of the attentional blink paradigm may make it especially relevant for studying rumination-related biases and designing bias modification interventions for rumination. In this paper, we examine the association between brooding, a maladaptive form of rumination, and emotional biases in the attentional blink paradigm. We show that brooding is associated with biased disengagement from positive stimuli. Our findings support the Attentional Scope Model of rumination (Whitmer and Gotlib, Psychol Bull 139:1036, 2013) in suggesting that rumination is associated with a narrow temporal attentional scope.
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To validate and demonstrate the general (non-emotional) attentional blink effect (Dux & Marois, 2009) in our sample, we submitted T2 misidentification rates on non-emotional trials to a repeated measures analysis of variance with lag (1–4) as a within-subject variable. Consistent with the typical blink effect, we found a significant effect of lag [F(3,78) = 75.32, p < .0001, partial η2= .74].
As some argue in favor of breaking down marginally significant interactions (e.g., Klein & Ross, 1993), we ran follow-up analyses examining the effect of valence and brooding in each lag. In lag 1, we did not find an effect of valence [F(1,77) = .001, p = .97, partial η2 < .0001], but we found a marginally significant valence by brooding interaction [F(1,77) = 2.99, p = .09, partial η2 = .04]. As a follow-up analysis, we then created a negativity bias score by regressing negative onto neutral trials and saving the unstandardized residual. We found a small albeit insignificant correlation between negativity bias scores and brooding (r = .17, p = .12).
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This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF 1519/13) awarded to Nilly Mor.
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Tal Ganor, Nilly Mor and Jonathan D. Huppert declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (national and institutional). Informed consent was obtained from all individual subjects participating in the study.
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Ganor, T., Mor, N. & Huppert, J.D. Rumination and Emotional Modulation of the Attentional Blink. Cogn Ther Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-021-10251-3
- Attentional blink