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Positive EmotionIntegrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides$
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June Gruber and Judith Tedlie Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.001.0001

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Positive Affect Systems in Depression

Positive Affect Systems in Depression

The Road Less Traveled

Chapter:
(p.406) Chapter 22 Positive Affect Systems in Depression
Source:
Positive Emotion
Author(s):

Greg Siegle

Erika Forbes

Jennifer Silk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.003.0022

The prevailing psychiatric diagnostic system considers depression a monolithic syndrome that is characterized by either high negative affect or low positive affect, without differentiating between these characteristics. This view has prevailed despite models from clinical psychology and affective neuroscience that posit unique implications of low positive affect, as well as increasing understanding of the functional neuroanatomy of disruptions in positive affect in depression. This chapter takes the stance that there is meaningful dimensional variability in positive as well as negative affect in depression, and that this variability can give rise to multiple syndromes within the disorder. We begin by reviewing the historical context for examining positive affect and its interplay with negative affect in depression. Next, we propose an integrated model of depression, comprised of potential syndromes that reflect different combinations of altered positive and negative affect. We identify three potential syndromes associated with abnormalities of positive affect based on the neural, behavioral, and phenomenological characteristics of those who suffer from depression. These include “high reactors” who react strongly to both positive and negative information, “negative ruminators” who interpret positive information as negative, and “blunted reactors” who have decreased reactions to positive as well as negative information. All three groups differ from healthy individuals who reliably display more positive than negative affect. We describe neural bases for these syndromes, address the developmental context in which they occur, and finally propose future directions for research.

Keywords:   depression, affective neuroscience, syndromes, positive affect, negative affect, development

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