Category: Cognitive Science / Cognitive Processes

Symposium

Neural Correlates of Autobiographical Problem-Solving Deficits Associated With Rumination

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Aqua Salon C & D, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: fMRI (Function Magnetic Resonance Imaging) | Rumination | Adult Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background. Analytical rumination can be characterized as negative thoughts focused on searching for answers to personal problems. Failure to think concretely during autobiographical problem-solving (APS) is hypothesized to drive the inability of ruminators to generate effective solutions. Clarifying the brain correlates underlying APS deficits in ruminators may identify novel biological targets for treatment.


Method: Forty participants (22unmedicated depressed and 18 never-depressed adults) ranging in rumination engaged in APS and negative self-referential processing (NSP) of negative trait adjectives during fMRI. We contrasted activation during APS with activation during NSP to isolate regions contributing to APS.


Results: Rumination was associated with having generated fewer solutions during APS and with a failure to recruit the angular gyrus (AG) and the medial frontal gyrus (MFG) during APS. Rumination was associated with greater MFG activation during NSP and stronger connectivity between the AG and the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC) during APS relative to NSP. Findings were not driven by clinical status.


Limitations: The use of an extreme groups approach can result in overestimation of effects sizes.


Conclusions: Ruminators fail to recruit regions with the default network (DN) that support APS. In particular, a failure to recruit the AG during APS may drive the abstract thinking style previously shown to explain depressed ruminator’s difficulty generating concrete solutions. Targeting this mechanism directly may reduce rumination. Furthermore, results support the conclusion that analyzing the content (APS vs. NSP) of self-generated thoughts may advance our understanding of how functioning within the DN may go awry.

Neil Jones

University of Pittsburgh

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Neural Correlates of Autobiographical Problem-Solving Deficits Associated With Rumination



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