This study was designed to examine attentional biases in the processing of emotional faces in currently and formerly depressed participants and healthy controls. Using a dot-probe task, the authors presented faces expressing happy or sad emotions paired with emotionally neutral faces. Whereas both currently and formerly depressed participants selectively attended to the sad faces, the control participants selectively avoided the sad faces and oriented toward the happy faces, a positive bias that was not observed for either of the depressed groups. These results indicate that attentional biases in the processing of emotional faces are evident even after individuals have recovered from a depressive episode. Implications of these findings for understanding the roles of cognitive and interpersonal functioning in depression are discussed.
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