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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the central role of information processing in mood disorders, distinguishing “cold” (emotion-independent) from “hot” (emotional-dependent) cognition. Impaired cold cognition, which appears in the core diagnostic criteria for both depressive and manic episodes, is a reliable finding in mood disorders. There is good evidence that cold cognitive abnormalities remain in remission, predict poor response to treatment, and are present in unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with mood disorders, suggesting that they are not simply epiphenomena of extreme mood states. Abnormal hot cognition is also a consistent finding in mood disorders. Mood-congruent affective biases and disrupted reward-processing have commonly been reported; the latter is especially relevant for understanding anhedonia. This pattern of disrupted hot and cold cognition is consistent with a cognitive neuropsychological model of depression, which proposes a central role for fundamental information-processing abnormalities in generating symptoms.

Keywords: depression, bipolar, mania, hot cognition, cold cognition, cognition, cognitive, emotional bias, reward, antidepressants

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