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Secondary prevention of depression (completed)

Applying an experimental Attentional Bias Modification procedure.

About the project

A premise for this project is that targeting basic cognitive and neural mechanisms has the potential to translate into new principles for depression treatment and prevention of relapse of depressive episodes. The project is a translational study testing a new computerized method for correcting implicit biases in emotional information processing (Attention Bias Modification; ABM) , a core maintaining factor of recurrence in major depression. This experimental cognitive bias modification has been shown to reduce surrogate markers of depression vulnerability in patients in remission from depression. As such, this approach represents an exciting opportunity for secondary prevention using an acceptable, non-drug intervention. However, recent evidence suggests that such effects tested in the lab may be dependent on candidate genes which affect serotonin reuptake and which have been implicated in malleability and emotional learning.


The current study will therefore test the following hypotheses:

1: Attentional bias modification will reduce cognitive, neurobiological and emotional markers of vulnerability in a large sample of patients in remission from major depression.

2: These effects will be modulated by the serotonin transporter genotype.

3: Attentional bias modification will reduce episodes of low mood over a 12 month follow-up period and these effects will be predicted by individual variation in the early effects on surrogate markers.

In addition, the project will explore the neural changes brought about by ABM in patients vulnerable to depression using models of emotion regulation


The Research Council of Norway (BEDREHELSE) 2014 - 2018.

Published Oct. 24, 2016 1:06 PM - Last modified Sep. 18, 2019 2:11 PM