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date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Mood and anxiety disorders are the most common forms of adult psychopathology, and impaired cognitive function plays an important role in daily functioning and disability associated with these conditions. This chapter reviews evidence for impairments in executive function, attention, and memory associated with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive–compulsive disorder. It describes patterns of both overlapping and distinct symptoms, risk factors, structural and functional neuroanatomical differences, and impaired cognitive function across these disorders. Although there are important differences between disorders, evidence suggests that all are associated with (1) broad impairments in executive function and sustained attention, and structural and neuroanatomical differences in prefrontal brain areas supporting these abilities; and (2) attentional biases for affective stimuli and structural and functional differences in limbic brain areas involved in affective processes. Next, the chapter discusses possible causal models and mediating mechanisms linking cognitive dysfunction to psychopathology. Finally, it highlights larger shifts in the way psychopathology, cognition, and their neural substrates are conceptualized and measured, which are considered critical for advancing understanding of cognition–psychopathology links.

Keywords: executive function, attention, memory, depression, anxiety, obsessive–compulsive disorder, bipolar

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