Cognitive-processing biases in individuals high on perceived criticism

Sara R. Masland, Jill M. Hooley, Laura Tully, Karen Dearing, Ian H. Gotlib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A considerable literature now shows that perceived criticism (PC) predicts clinical outcomes transdiagnostically. Recent work has begun to identify potential mechanisms underlying PC’s connection to clinical outcomes. For example, anomalies have been found in neural processing when individuals who rate their key relatives as highly critical listen to criticism. To explore whether high-PC individuals are also characterized by other processing abnormalities, we examined cognitive processing in a sample of community participants (N = 76) high or low on PC. We measured the executive control of attention when these two groups of individuals processed emotional information and interpreted acoustically presented ambiguous words. High-PC individuals showed impaired executive control of negative emotional information relative to low-PC individuals. They also made more negative interpretations of ambiguous words. These findings indicate that PC is associated with underlying vulnerabilities that may predispose individuals to develop psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Cognitive processes
  • Depression
  • Emotional processing biases
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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