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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 109–118 | Cite as

Attenuated LPP to Emotional Face Stimuli Associated with Parent- and Self-Reported Depression in Children and Adolescents

  • Madlen GrunewaldEmail author
  • Mirko DöhnertEmail author
  • Daniel Brandeis
  • Annette Maria Klein
  • Kai von Klitzing
  • Tina Matuschek
  • Stephanie Stadelmann
Article

Abstract

Individuals diagnosed with a depressive disorder have been found to show reduced reactions to emotional information consistent with the hypothesis of an emotional context insensitivity. However, there are contradictory findings of enhanced reactivity and mood-congruent processing. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings of the late positive potential (LPP) can display such blunted or enhanced activity. Due to these contradictory findings, there is a need to clarify the role of the LPP in the emergence and presence of depressive disorders especially in children. We used an emotional Go/NoGo task to investigate modulations of the LPP to emotional (fearful, happy, sad) and calm faces in a sample of children and adolescents (age 11;00–14;11) diagnosed with a depressive disorder according to diagnostic parent interviews (K-SADS-PL) (n = 26) compared to a group of age-matched healthy controls (n = 26). LPP positivity was attenuated in children and adolescents with a depressive disorder as well as with higher self-reported depressive symptoms, suggesting reduced reactivity to emotional and calm faces. This is the first study to find generally blunted LPP responses in a clinical sample of depressed youth across reporters. Such dysfunctional modulation of neural activity may represent a potential biomarker for depressive disorders. The results call for further prospective studies investigating the course of the LPP before and after the onset of a depressive disorder in youth.

Keywords

Depressive disorders Late positive potential (LPP) Blunted reaction Emotional faces 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, Universität Leipzig. LIFE is funded by a grant from the European Union, by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and by a grant from the Free State of Saxony within the framework of the excellence initiative.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by ethics committee of the Universität Leipzig.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was provided by parents and children prior to the assessments.

Supplementary material

10802_2018_429_MOESM1_ESM.docx (409 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 409 kb)

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LIFE-Leipzig Research Center for Civilization DiseasesUniversität LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsUniversität LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental HealthMedical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany
  4. 4.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Center for Integrative Human PhysiologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Neuroscience Center ZurichUniversity of Zurich and ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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