Attentional Bias Predicts Increased Reward Salience and Risk Taking in Bipolar Disorder.

Attentional Bias Predicts Increased Reward Salience and Risk Taking in Bipolar Disorder.

Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 18;

Authors: Mason L, Trujillo-Barreto NJ, Bentall RP, El-Deredy W

BACKGROUND: There is amassing evidence that risky decision-making in bipolar disorder is related to reward-based differences in frontostriatal regions. However, the roles of early attentional and later cognitive processes remain unclear, limiting theoretical understanding and development of targeted interventions.
METHODS: Twenty euthymic bipolar disorder and 19 matched control participants played a Roulette task in which they won and lost money. Event-related potentials and source analysis were used to quantify predominantly sensory-attentional (N1), motivational salience (FRN), and cognitive appraisal (P300) stages of processing. We predicted that the bipolar disorder group would show increased N1, consistent with increased attentional orienting, and reduced FRN, consistent with a bias to perceive outcomes more favorably.
RESULTS: As predicted, the bipolar disorder group showed increased N1 and reduced FRN but no differences in P300. N1 amplitude was additionally associated with real-life risk taking, and N1 source activity was reduced in visual cortex but increased activity in precuneus, frontopolar, and premotor cortex, compared to those of controls.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate an early attentional bias to reward that potentially drives risk taking by priming approach behavior and elevating reward salience in the frontostriatal pathway. Although later cognitive appraisals of these inputs may be relatively intact in remission, interventions targeting attention orienting may also be effective in long-term reduction of relapse.

PMID: 25863360 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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