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New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

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Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Emotion-Network Density in Major Depressive Disorder

Madeline Lee Pe, Katharina Kircanski, Renee J. Thompson, Laura F. Bringmann, Francis Tuerlinckx, Merijn Mestdagh, Jutta Mata, Susanne M. Jaeggi, Martin Buschkuehl, John Jonides, Peter Kuppens, and Ian H. Gotlib

In this study, the authors used a network approach to examine whether people with major depressive disorder (MDD) have a denser, and thus less flexible, emotion network — something that is thought to be associated with psychopathology. Participants with and without MDD indicated their current levels of positive (happy, excited, alert, active) and negative (sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, ashamed, disgusted, guilty) affect eight times a day for 7 consecutive days. Participants with MDD had a significantly denser negative — but not positive — emotion network than did participants without MDD, suggesting that their negative emotions are more resistant to change, which may make it difficult to break harmful cycles of negative emotionality.

Facial Dimorphism in Autistic Quotient Scores

Naomi Jane Scott, Alex Lee Jones, Robin Stewart Samuel Kramer, and Robert Ward

The extreme male brain theory suggests that the highly systematized behaviors seen in autism spectrum disorders arise from overexposure to androgens during prenatal development. Pictures of people who had scored low or high on an assessment of autism traits (autism quotient, AQ) were used to form composite images representing low- and high-AQ facial features. These composites were then morphed with new pictures to create high-AQ and low-AQ images of the same individual. Participants rated high-AQ images of men — but not women — as more masculine than the corresponding low-AQ images. The link between facial masculinity — which is thought to be influenced by prenatal and pubertal androgen levels — and AQ traits lends some support to the extreme male brain theory.

Therapeutic Opportunities for Self-Control Repair in Addiction and Related Disorders: Change and the Limits of Change in Trans-Disease Processes

Warren K. Bickel, Amanda J. Quisenberry, Lara Moody, and A. George Wilson

Self-control failures often play a large role in the development and maintenance of addiction-related disorders. In this article, the authors describe how dysregulation in impulsive-decision and self-control systems leads to several types of dysfunction including drug abuse, gambling, and obesity. Theories explaining self-control failures in addiction contexts suggest that exposure to addictive stimuli alters reward processing, making people value immediate rewards over delayed rewards. The authors review evidence showing that interventions such as working memory training, engaging in episodic future thinking, and transcranial magnetic stimulation can improve self-control. Although these interventions are promising, more research on how to sustain these changes over time is needed.