Due to the paucity of behavioural studies on emotionally modulated cognitive control processes in healthy individuals and in remitted bipolar patients, it is difficult to determine the extent to which emotional stimuli can modulate cognitive control processes in both populations. The authors examined emotional processing biases in cognitive control processes in large groups of healthy volunteers and bipolar outpatients. Participants were matched for gender and age, and completed a computerized Emotional Go/NoGo task. Results revealed greater impact of emotionally loaded stimuli compared to neutral stimuli on response inhibition. Among emotional stimuli, negative stimuli exerted the most pronounced differential effect on target recognition and response inhibition in both groups. Healthy volunteers demonstrated better cognitive control performance and altered pattern of emotional processing biases than bipolar patients. Results are discussed with regard to the preferential processing of emotional over non-emotional stimuli and existing between-group differences in emotional processing biases, attributable to bipolar disorder characteristics.
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