Cognitive vulnerability to emotional disorders

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005:1:167-95. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143916.


A review of recent research on cognitive processing indicates that biases in attention, memory, and interpretation, as well as repetitive negative thoughts, are common across emotional disorders, although they vary in form according to type of disorder. Current cognitive models emphasize specific forms of biased processing, such as variations in the focus of attention or habitual interpretative styles that contribute to the risk of developing particular disorders. As well as predicting risk of emotional disorders, new studies have provided evidence of a causal relationship between processing bias and vulnerability. Beyond merely demonstrating the existence of biased processing, research is thus beginning to explore the cognitive causes of emotional vulnerability, and their modification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Attention
  • Cognition*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Models, Psychological
  • Perception