Electrophysiological correlates of emotional scene processing in bipolar disorder

Rebekah L. Trotti, David A. Parker, Dean Sabatinelli, Carol A. Tamminga, Elliot S. Gershon, Sarah K. Keedy, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Godfrey D. Pearlson, John A. Sweeney, Jennifer E. McDowell, Brett A. Clementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Emotional dysfunction is a core feature of bipolar I disorder (BD). Behavioral data suggest that emotional processing may differ based on history of psychosis, but physiological studies frequently disregard this differentiating feature. Face processing studies indicate that emotion-related components of event-related potentials (ERPs) are abnormal in BD, but fMRI data using emotional scenes are mixed. The current study used ERPs to examine emotional scene perception in BD with and without a history of psychosis (BDP, BDNP). 386 participants from the PARDIP consortium (HC = 181, BDP = 130, BDNP = 75) viewed neutral, pleasant, and unpleasant scenes from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) during continuous EEG recording. The early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive potential (LPP) were examined for group and stimulus effects. Analyses were conducted for groups on and off medications to examine associations between medication status, psychosis, and ERP response. Group differences were found between HC and BD in emotional modulation of the EPN and between HC and BDP in the LPP to pleasant images. There was a significant interaction between psychosis history and anticonvulsant status in the EPN, but no other medication associations were found. The relationship between neural/self-reported emotional responses and clinical symptoms were examined with canonical correlations, but no significant associations were found. Results from this large well characterized sample indicate mild deviations in neural reactivity related to medication, mood, and psychosis history. However, processing of emotional scenes appears mostly intact in individuals with BD regardless of symptom severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Bipolar disorders
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emotional processing
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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