Skip to main content

Rumination and Emotional Modulation of the Attentional Blink

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    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].

  2. 2.

    We chose to compare lags 1 and 4 based on previous research on the attentional blink in rumination (Onie & Most, 2017) and depression (Koster et al., 2009).

  3. 3.

    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).

References

  1. Aldao, A., Gee, D. G., De Los Reyes, A., & Seager, I. (2016). Emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic factor in the development of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology: Current and future directions. Development and Psychopathology, 28(4pt1), 927–946. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579416000638

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(2), 217–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.11.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Anderson, A. K. (2005). Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134(2), 258. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.134.2.258

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Beck depression inventory (BDI-II) (Vol. 10). Psychological Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bernblum, R., & Mor, N. (2010). Rumination and emotion-related biases in refreshing information. Emotion, 10(3), 423. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018427

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Bosmans, G., Goldblum, E., Braet, C., Van de Walle, M., Heylen, J., Bijttebier, P., Santens, T., Koster, E. H., & De Raedt, R. (2018). Children’s attentional breadth around their mother: Comparing stimulus-driven vs. cognitively controlled processes. Social Development, 27(1), 95–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12256

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bowman, H., & Wyble, B. (2007). The simultaneous type, serial token model of temporal attention and working memory. Psychological Review, 114(1), 38. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.114.1.38

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Busch, L. Y., Pössel, P., & Valentine, J. C. (2017). Meta-analyses of cardiovascular reactivity to rumination: A possible mechanism linking depression and hostility to cardiovascular disease. Psychological Bulletin, 143(12), 1378. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000119

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Chun, M. M., & Potter, M. C. (1995). A two-stage model for multiple target detection in rapid serial visual presentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21(1), 109. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03210498

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Cohen, N., & Mor, N. (2018). Enhancing reappraisal by linking cognitive control and emotion. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 155–163. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702617731379

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Cohen, N., Mor, N., & Henik, A. (2015). Linking executive control and emotional response: A training procedure to reduce rumination. Clinical Psychological Science, 3, 15–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702614530114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Cooper, R. M., & Langton, S. R. (2006). Attentional bias to angry faces using the dot-probe task? It depends when you look for it. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(9), 1321–1329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.004

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Daches, S., & Mor, N. (2014). Training ruminators to inhibit negative information: A preliminary report. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(2), 160–171. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-013-9585-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. de Jong, P. J., & Martens, S. (2007). Detection of emotional expressions in rapidly changing facial displays in high-and low-socially anxious women. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(6), 1285–1294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.10.003

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Dieler, A. C., Herrmann, M. J., & Fallgatter, A. J. (2014). Voluntary suppression of thoughts is influenced by anxious and ruminative tendencies in healthy volunteers. Memory, 22(3), 184–193. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2013.774420

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Dux, P. E., & Marois, R. (2009). The attentional blink: A review of data and theory. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71(8), 1683–1700. https://doi.org/10.3758/APP.71.8.1683

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ehring, T., & Watkins, E. R. (2008). Repetitive negative thinking as a transdiagnostic process. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 1(3), 192–205. https://doi.org/10.1680/ijct.2008.1.3.192

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A. G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G* Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39(2), 175–191. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193146

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Fodor, L. A., Georgescu, R., Cuijpers, P., Szamoskozi, Ş, David, D., Furukawa, T. A., & Cristea, I. A. (2020). Efficacy of cognitive bias modification interventions in anxiety and depressive disorders: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(6), 506–514. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30130-9

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Grafton, B., Southworth, F., Watkins, E., & MacLeod, C. (2016). Stuck in a sad place: Biased attentional disengagement in rumination. Emotion, 16(1), 63. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000103

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Grol, M., Hertel, P. T., Koster, E. H., & De Raedt, R. (2015). The effects of rumination induction on attentional breadth for self-related information. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(4), 607–618. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702614566814

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect relationships and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(2), 348–362. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Hertel, P. T., Maydon, A., Cottle, J., & Vrijsen, J. N. (2017). Cognitive bias modification: Retrieval practice to simulate and oppose ruminative memory biases. Clinical Psychological Science, 5(1), 122–130. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702616649366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hudson, M. R., Harding, K. A., & Mezulis, A. (2015). Dampening and brooding jointly link temperament with depressive symptoms: A prospective study. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 249–254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.04.025

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Joormann, J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2010). Emotion regulation in depression: Relation to cognitive inhibition. Cognition and Emotion, 24(2), 281–298. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699930903407948

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Joormann, J., Levens, S. M., & Gotlib, I. H. (2011). Sticky thoughts: Depression and rumination are associated with difficulties manipulating emotional material in working memory. Psychological Science, 22(8), 979–983. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611415539

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Klein, D. F., & Ross, D. C. (1993). Reanalysis of the National Institute of Mental Health treatment of depression collaborative research program general effectiveness report. Neuropsychopharmacology, 8(3), 241–251.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Koster, E. H., Crombez, G., Verschuere, B., Van Damme, S., & Wiersema, J. R. (2006). Components of attentional bias to threat in high trait anxiety: Facilitated engagement, impaired disengagement, and attentional avoidance. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(12), 1757–1771. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.12.011

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Koster, E. H., De Lissnyder, E., Derakshan, N., & De Raedt, R. (2011). Understanding depressive rumination from a cognitive science perspective: The impaired disengagement hypothesis. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(1), 138–145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.08.005

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  30. Koster, E. H., Raedt, R. D., Verschuere, B., Tibboel, H., & De Jong, P. J. (2009). Negative information enhances the attentional blink in dysphoria. Depression and Anxiety, 26(1), E16–E22. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20420

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Kross, E., Ayduk, O., & Mischel, W. (2005). When asking “why” does not hurt distinguishing rumination from reflective processing of negative emotions. Psychological Science, 16(9), 709–715. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01600.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. MacLean, M. H., & Arnell, K. M. (2012). A conceptual and methodological framework for measuring and modulating the attentional blink. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 74(6), 1080–1097. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-012-0338-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Mathewson, K. J., Arnell, K. M., & Mansfield, C. A. (2008). Capturing and holding attention: The impact of emotional words in rapid serial visual presentation. Memory & Cognition, 36(1), 182–200. https://doi.org/10.3758/MC.36.1.182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. McEvoy, P. M., Watson, H., Watkins, E. R., & Nathan, P. (2013). The relationship between worry, rumination, and comorbidity: Evidence for repetitive negative thinking as a transdiagnostic construct. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(1), 313–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.014

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. McHugo, M., Olatunji, B. O., & Zald, D. H. (2013). The emotional attentional blink: What we know so far. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 151. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00151

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  36. Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the penn state worry questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28(6), 487–495.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Mor, N., Horef, A., Stern, N., & Perlman, B. (in preparation). Refreshing emotional information only when it is relevant: A training procedure to reduce rumination.

  38. Mor, N., & Daches, S. (2015). Ruminative thinking: Lessons learned from cognitive training. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(4), 574–592. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702615578130

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Morrison, A. S., Brozovich, F. A., Lakhan-Pal, S., Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2016). Attentional blink impairment in social anxiety disorder: Depression comorbidity matters. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 50, 209–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.08.006

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Most, S. B., Chun, M. M., Widders, D. M., & Zald, D. H. (2005). Attentional rubbernecking: Cognitive control and personality in emotion-induced blindness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review., 12, 654–661. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196754

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Most, S. B., & Jungé, J. A. (2008). Don’t look back: Retroactive, dynamic costs and benefits of emotional capture. Visual Cognition, 16(2–3), 262–278. https://doi.org/10.1080/13506280701490062

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Müller, S., Rothermund, K., & Wentura, D. (2016). Relevance drives attention: Attentional bias for gain-and loss-related stimuli is driven by delayed disengagement. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(4), 752–763. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2015.1049624

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after a natural disaster: The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(1), 115. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.61.1.115

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B. E., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Rethinking rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(5), 400–424. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00088.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. O’Mahen, H. A., Boyd, A., & Gashe, C. (2015). Rumination decreases parental problem-solving effectiveness in dysphoric postnatal mothers. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 47, 18–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.09.007

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Onie, S., & Most, S. B. (2017). Two roads diverged: Distinct mechanisms of attentional bias differentially predict negative affect and persistent negative thought. Emotion, 17(5), 884. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000280

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Ottaviani, C., Thayer, J. F., Verkuil, B., Lonigro, A., Medea, B., Couyoumdjian, A., & Brosschot, J. F. (2016). Physiological concomitants of perseverative cognition: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 142(3), 231. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000036

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Owens, M., & Gibb, B. E. (2017). Brooding rumination and attentional biases in currently non-depressed individuals: An eye-tracking study. Cognition and Emotion, 31(5), 1062–1069. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2016.1187116

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Peckham, A. D., McHugh, R. K., & Otto, M. W. (2010). A meta-analysis of the magnitude of biased attention in depression. Depression and Anxiety, 27(12), 1135–1142. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20755

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Raymond, J. E., Shapiro, K. L., & Arnell, K. M. (1992). Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task: An attentional blink? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 18(3), 849. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.18.3.849

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. Sanchez-Lopez, A., Everaert, J., Van Put, J., De Raedt, R., & Koster, E. H. (2019). Eye-gaze contingent attention training (ECAT): Examining the causal role of attention regulation in reappraisal and rumination. Biological Psychology, 142, 116–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.01.017

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Sheppes, G., Suri, G., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Emotion regulation and psychopathology. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 11, 379–405. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032814-112739

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Spielberger, C. D. (1983). State-trait anxiety inventory for adults (STAI-AD). Mind Garden.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Treynor, W., Gonzalez, R., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2003). Rumination reconsidered: A psychometric analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27(3), 247–259. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023910315561

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Watkins, E., & Moulds, M. (2005). Distinct modes of ruminative self-focus: Impact of abstract versus concrete rumination on problem solving in depression. Emotion, 5(3), 319–328. https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.5.3.319

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  56. Watkins, E. R., & Roberts, H. (2020). Reflecting on rumination: Consequences, causes, mechanisms and treatment of rumination. Behaviour Research and Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103573

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1994). The Panas-X. The University of Iowa.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Whitmer, A. J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2013). An attentional scope model of rumination. Psychological Bulletin, 139(5), 1036. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030923

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  59. Yang, W., Ding, Z., Dai, T., Peng, F., & Zhang, J. X. (2015). Attention bias modification training in individuals with depressive symptoms: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 49, 101–111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.08.005

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Yang, W., Zhang, J. X., Ding, Z., & Xiao, L. (2016). Attention bias modification treatment for adolescents with major depression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(3), 208–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2015.12.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Yang, Y., Cao, S., Shields, G. S., Teng, Z., & Liu, Y. (2017). The relationships between rumination and core executive functions: A meta-analysis. Depression and Anxiety, 34(1), 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22539

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Zetsche, U., Bürkner, P. C., & Schulze, L. (2018). Shedding light on the association between repetitive negative thinking and deficits in cognitive control: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 63, 56–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2018.06.001

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF 1519/13) awarded to Nilly Mor.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tal Ganor.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Tal Ganor, Nilly Mor and Jonathan D. Huppert declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

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.

Reasearch involving human and animal rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in Open Science Framework (OSF) at https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/V7HW6.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (DOCX 37 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

  • Rumination
  • Brooding
  • Attentional blink
  • Bias