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Concept: Mood


Humour processing is a complex information-processing task that is dependent on cognitive and emotional aspects which presumably influence frame-shifting and conceptual blending, mental operations that underlie humour processing. The aim of the current study was to find distinctive groups of subjects with respect to black humour processing, intellectual capacities, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. A total of 156 adults rated black humour cartoons and conducted measurements of verbal and nonverbal intelligence, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. Cluster analysis yields three groups comprising following properties: (1) moderate black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence; low mood disturbance and moderate aggressiveness; (2) low black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence, high mood disturbance and high aggressiveness; and (3) high black humour preference and high comprehension; high nonverbal and verbal intelligence; no mood disturbance and low aggressiveness. Age and gender do not differ significantly, differences in education level can be found. Black humour preference and comprehension are positively associated with higher verbal and nonverbal intelligence as well as higher levels of education. Emotional instability and higher aggressiveness apparently lead to decreased levels of pleasure when dealing with black humour. These results support the hypothesis that humour processing involves cognitive as well as affective components and suggest that these variables influence the execution of frame-shifting and conceptual blending in the course of humour processing.

Concepts: Psychology, Cluster analysis, Educational psychology, Emotion, Mood disorder, Higher education, Mood, Conceptual blending


Reactions to memorable experiences of sad music were studied by means of a survey administered to a convenience (N = 1577), representative (N = 445), and quota sample (N = 414). The survey explored the reasons, mechanisms, and emotions of such experiences. Memorable experiences linked with sad music typically occurred in relation to extremely familiar music, caused intense and pleasurable experiences, which were accompanied by physiological reactions and positive mood changes in about a third of the participants. A consistent structure of reasons and emotions for these experiences was identified through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across the samples. Three types of sadness experiences were established, one that was genuinely negative (Grief-Stricken Sorrow) and two that were positive (Comforting Sorrow and Sweet Sorrow). Each type of emotion exhibited certain individual differences and had distinct profiles in terms of the underlying reasons, mechanisms, and elicited reactions. The prevalence of these broad types of emotional experiences suggested that positive experiences are the most frequent, but negative experiences were not uncommon in any of the samples. The findings have implications for measuring emotions induced by music and fiction in general, and call attention to the non-pleasurable aspects of these experiences.

Concepts: Psychology, Neuroscience, Emotion, Confirmatory factor analysis, Emotion and memory, Feeling, Mood, Emotions


Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder share symptoms that may reflect core mood disorder features. This has led to the pursuit of intermediate phenotypes and a dimensional approach to understand neurobiological disruptions in mood disorders. Executive dysfunction, including cognitive control, may represent a promising intermediate phenotype across major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. This study examined dimensions of cognitive control in women with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder in comparison to healthy control subjects using two separate, consecutive experiments. For Experiment 1, participants completed a behavioural cognitive control task (healthy controls = 150, major depressive disorder = 260, bipolar disorder = 202; age range 17-84 years). A sample of those participants (healthy controls = 17, major depressive disorder = 19, and bipolar disorder = 16) completed a similar cognitive control task in an event-related design functional magnetic resonance imaging protocol for Experiment 2. Results for Experiment 1 showed greater impairments on the cognitive control task in patients with mood disorders relative to healthy controls (P < 0.001), with more of those in the mood disorder group falling into the 'impaired' range when using clinical cut-offs (<5th percentile). Experiment 2 revealed only a few areas of shared activation differences in mood disorder greater than healthy controls. Activation analyses using performance as a regressor, irrespective of diagnosis, revealed within and extra-network areas that were more active in poor performers. In summary, performance and activation during cognitive control tasks may represent an intermediate phenotype for mood disorders. However, cognitive control dysfunction is not uniform across women with mood disorders, and activation is linked to performance more so than disease. These findings support subtype and dimensional approaches to understanding risk and expression of mood disorders and are a promising area of inquiry, in line with the Research Domain Criteria initiative of NIMH.

Concepts: Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Seasonal affective disorder, Mood disorder, Dysthymia, Creativity, Mood


This study explores listeners' experience of music-evoked sadness. Sadness is typically assumed to be undesirable and is therefore usually avoided in everyday life. Yet the question remains: Why do people seek and appreciate sadness in music? We present findings from an online survey with both Western and Eastern participants (N = 772). The survey investigates the rewarding aspects of music-evoked sadness, as well as the relative contribution of listener characteristics and situational factors to the appreciation of sad music. The survey also examines the different principles through which sadness is evoked by music, and their interaction with personality traits. Results show 4 different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no “real-life” implications. Moreover, appreciation of sad music follows a mood-congruent fashion and is greater among individuals with high empathy and low emotional stability. Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music. Correspondingly, memory was rated as the most important principle through which sadness is evoked. Finally, the trait empathy contributes to the evocation of sadness via contagion, appraisal, and by engaging social functions. The present findings indicate that emotional responses to sad music are multifaceted, are modulated by empathy, and are linked with a multidimensional experience of pleasure. These results were corroborated by a follow-up survey on happy music, which indicated differences between the emotional experiences resulting from listening to sad versus happy music. This is the first comprehensive survey of music-evoked sadness, revealing that listening to sad music can lead to beneficial emotional effects such as regulation of negative emotion and mood as well as consolation. Such beneficial emotional effects constitute the prime motivations for engaging with sad music in everyday life.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Empathy, Emotion, Personal life, Neuroticism, Mood, Trait


BackgroundSleep loss may trigger mood episodes in people with bipolar disorder but individual differences could influence vulnerability to this trigger.AimsTo determine whether bipolar subtype (bipolar disorder type I (BP-I) or II (BD-II)) and gender were associated with vulnerability to the sleep loss trigger.MethodDuring a semi-structured interview, 3140 individuals (68% women) with bipolar disorder (66% BD-I) reported whether sleep loss had triggered episodes of high or low mood. DSM-IV diagnosis of bipolar subtype was derived from case notes and interview data.ResultsSleep loss triggering episodes of high mood was associated with female gender (odds ratio (OR) = 1.43, 95% CI 1.17-1.75, P < 0.001) and BD-I subtype (OR = 2.81, 95% CI 2.26-3.50, P < 0.001). Analyses on sleep loss triggering low mood were not significant following adjustment for confounders.ConclusionsGender and bipolar subtype may increase vulnerability to high mood following sleep deprivation. This should be considered in situations where patients encounter sleep disruption, such as shift work and international travel.

Concepts: Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Psychosis, Borderline personality disorder, Bipolar disorder, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Mood, Hypomania


Individuals at risk for, and diagnosed with, bipolar disorder (BD) appear to have heightened levels of creativity. Although inspiration is creativity, the ways in which individuals appraise and respond emotionally to inspiration in BD remain unexplored.

Concepts: Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Creativity, Mood


BACKGROUND: The affective temperament profiles among patients with mood disorders may be an important parameter in the clinical evaluation of these patients. It has been proposed that temperament traits have familiality and may represent vulnerability markers to identify the risk to developing specific clinical type of mood disorders. To test these theories, measures of temperament were examined in bipolar patients (BP), unipolar major depressive patients (UP), healthy relatives of these patients (HRP) and normal controls (NC). METHODS: We compared affective temperament scores, using the brief Brazilian version of TEMPS-A-TEMPS-Rio de Janeiro, between 90 BP, 88 UP, 132 HRP and 136 NC. A MANCOVA model was constructed. Dependent variables were the six subscales of the TEMPS-RJ (depressive, cyclothymic, irritable, hyperthymic, anxious and worrying temperaments). The effects of age and gender were adjusted as covariates. Furthermore, we performed a comparison between a subgroup of 68 HRP, relatives of bipolar patients (HRBP), and the remainders 64 HRP, relatives of unipolar patients (HRUP) and controls. RESULTS: The clinical group (BP, UP) showed higher temperament scores than NC, except for hyperthymic scores. BP showed higher cyclothymic (p<0.001), hyperthymic (p<0.001) and lower anxious (p<0.01) temperament scores than UP. HRP showed lower scores than clinical groups. HRBP scored higher cyclothymic subscale than HRUP and NC groups. LIMITATIONS: Bipolar I and II subjects were placed in the same group. CONCLUSIONS: The cyclothymic and hyperthymic traits were associated with bipolarity in patients and cyclothymic temperament could be a characteristic trait of the healthy relatives of bipolar patients. Our data support that affective temperament might become a useful tool for clinical evaluation and research purposes in mood disorders.

Concepts: Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Emotion, Dysthymia, Mood, Bipolar spectrum, Hypomania, Temperament


Growing evidence points to an association of daily light exposure and both mood and mood disorders. In recent studies, we demonstrated that higher illuminance of daytime may be positively associated with hyperthymic temperament while lower illuminance of daytime may be positively associated with cyclothymic temperament. However, it is not possible to determine whether hyperthymic or cyclothymic temperament induces higher or lower illuminance via heliotropism or non-heliotropism or whether higher or lower illuminance induces hyperthymic or cyclothymic temperament via light effects.

Concepts: Effect, Effects unit, Bipolar disorder, Dysthymia, Mood, Hypomania, Temperament, Hyperthymic temperament


Abstract Background: Both female reproductive hormones and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are implicated in migraine and in menstrually related mood disorders (MRMD). We examined the association of migraine, including migraine with aura (MA), and history of MRMD or CSA. Methods: A total of 174 women (mean age 33.9±7.6 years) in this cross-sectional study were evaluated for (1) current MRMD using prospective daily ratings; (2) history of CSA using structured interview; and (3) MA and migraine without aura using the International Classification of Headaches Disorders II criteria. Results: Ninety-six women met MRMD criteria (21 of whom had history of CSA) and 78 women were non-MRMD controls (16 with CSA histories). Migraine with aura was more prevalent in women with MRMD when compared to non-MRMD controls (11/88 and 0/86, respectively, p=0.001). In MRMD women only, a CSA history was associated with higher MA rates (6/21 and 5/67, respectively, p=0.019). A combination of current MRMD diagnosis and a history CSA was associated with increased risk for MA, even after adjusting for potential confounders (odds ratio=12.08, 95% confidence interval 2.98-48.90, p<0.001). Conclusions: Women with MRMD may be vulnerable to the development of MA, and a history of CSA in women with a MRMD appears to increase that vulnerability. MRMDs and MA should be included among other poor mental and physical health outcomes of an abuse history. Routine screening for abuse histories would potentially improve identification of women with increased risk of experiencing abuse-related disorders.

Concepts: Cross-sectional study, Migraine, Epilepsy, Child abuse, History, Mood, Aura, Scintillating scotoma


Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, causes swings in mood and activity levels at irregular intervals. Such changes are difficult to predict, and their molecular basis remains unknown. Here, we use infradian (longer than a day) cyclic activity levels in αCaMKII (Camk2a) mutant mice as a proxy for such mood-associated changes. We report that gene-expression patterns in the hippocampal dentate gyrus could retrospectively predict whether the mice were in a state of high or low locomotor activity (LA). Expression of a subset of circadian genes, as well as levels of cAMP and pCREB, possible upstream regulators of circadian genes, were correlated with LA states, suggesting that the intrinsic molecular circuitry changes concomitant with infradian oscillatory LA. Taken together, these findings shed light onto the molecular basis of how irregular biological rhythms and behavior are controlled by the brain.

Concepts: Gene, Biology, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Mania, Mood, Ultradian