SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
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Depressive cognitive schemas play an important role in the emergence and persistence of major depressive disorder (MDD). The current study adapted emotion regulation techniques to reflect elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and related psychotherapies to delineate neurocognitive abnormalities associated with modulating the negative cognitive style in MDD. Nineteen non-medicated patients with MDD and 19 matched controls reduced negative or enhanced positive feelings elicited by emotional scenes while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Although both groups showed significant emotion regulation success as measured by subjective ratings of affect, the controls were significantly better at modulating both negative and positive emotion. Both groups recruited regions of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) when regulating negative emotions. Only in controls was this accompanied by reduced activity in sensory cortices and amygdala. Similarly, both groups showed enhanced activity in VLPFC and ventral striatum when enhancing positive affect; however, only in controls was ventral striatum activity correlated with regulation efficacy. The results suggest that depression is associated with both a reduced capacity to achieve relief from negative affect despite recruitment of ventral and dorsal prefrontal cortical regions implicated in emotion regulation, coupled with a disconnect between activity in reward-related regions and subjective positive affect.