International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 16 Num. 2 - June 2016


A Review of Cognitive Inhibition in Adults with Unipolar Depression

Volume 16 Num. 2 - June 2016 - Pages 179-188


Elisabeth J. Harfmann


Although it is generally accepted that systematic processing biases are associated with depressive episodes, what is less well understood are the mechanisms responsible for such negative cognitive biases. Overall, empirical evidence has suggested that cognitive inhibitory deficits of emotional processing may play a central role in the onset and maintenance of depression. Thus, research has begun to investigate cognitive inhibition, a mechanism proposed to be fundamental to the negative cognitive biases evidenced within depression. These investigations may help to fill these gaps in the literature. The aim of the current paper was to provide a comprehensive review of the literature related to cognitive inhibition and investigate the evidence supporting the role of cognitive inhibition in the development and maintenance of major depressive disorder. Relevant research is reviewed and the current methods for examining cognitive inhibition are discussed. Furthermore, the implications of these results for research examining selective attention within depression are considered.

Key words:

depression, cognitive inhibition, information processing, cognitive vulnerability

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