ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 102-111.

• Regular Articles •

### The relationship between rumination and attention disengagement and the underlying neural mechanism

LIU Qipeng, ZHAO Xiaoyun, WANG Cuiyan, XU Yiya, WANG Shuyan()

1. School of Education, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 235000, China
• Received:2020-06-09 Online:2021-01-15 Published:2020-11-23
• Contact: WANG Shuyan E-mail:wsy720@chnu.edu.cn

Abstract:

Rumination is repetitive negative thinking that allows individuals to focus on negative and painful things. Current research has confirmed that rumination is closely related to impaired attentional disengagement and has nothing to do with attention-oriented acceleration.  Rumination and impaired attentional disengagement are independent of each other, and this can be explained by the following three aspects. First, there is an essential difference in the definition of rumination and impaired attentional disengagement. By definition, rumination is described as a way of thinking, but impaired attentional disengagement is a way of attention. Second, rumination and impaired attentional disengagement belong to different concepts; specifically, rumination belongs to the category of psychological process, and impaired attentional disengagement belongs to the category of mental state. Third, there are different measurement methods for the processes of rumination and impaired attentional disengagement.  While rumination is generally measured by the ruminant thinking scale, impaired attentional disengagement is measured by various experimental paradigms. In addition, although there are still some controversies about the relationship between rumination and impaired attentional disengagement, longitudinal studies have confirmed that impaired attentional disengagement to negative expressions can predict individual rumination. In addition, some studies have confirmed that impaired attentional disengagement related to rumination may be controlled by consciousness, which means that impaired attentional disengagement related to rumination is not unconscious or automatic.
It is on this basis that many researchers have tried to improve individuals’ rumination through attentional disengagement-related training, confirming that it is not only auditory attentional disengagement-related training that improves an individual’s rumination, but that attentional disengagement-related training also effectively improves rumination. Therefore, impaired attentional disengagement may affect the generation and development of rumination. At the same time, previous related studies have also shown that individuals with high rumination thinking have obviously impaired attentional disengagement compared with individuals with low rumination thinking.  In summary, this also shows that the relationship between rumination and impaired attentional disengagement may not be a one-way relationship, suggesting that they may also affect each other. This process of mutual influence may not be caused by only the individual's poor emotion regulation function, but may also be related to the individual's emotions and the brain nerve mechanism of attention. What is more, among them, the excessive activation of the amygdala, and the abnormal adjustment of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to self-related negative information, may be the reasons why rumination and attention detach from damage affect each other. Other possible reasons why rumination and attention detach from damage affect each other are the abnormal activity of the right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and the related cognitive control abnormalities in the structure and function of attention-related brain neural networks, including cognitive control network (CCN), dorsal attention network (DAN), and the triple network of attention,
I would like to conclude by saying that for further clarification of the relationship between rumination and impaired attentional disengagement, future researchers can study the following aspects. First, because impaired attentional disengagement to certain specific stimuli can have an impact on different mental disorders, it is necessary to further determine whether impaired attentional disengagement to specific stimuli can have an impact on specific mental disorders. Second, since not only rumination, but also impaired attentional disengagement involves self-related brain regions, future researchers can verify the role of self-relevance in impaired attentional disengagement in high ruminants. Third, since attention is a part of cognition, it is worth further exploring whether cognitive training can reduce rumination; and (least) because the effects of physiology and environment on individuals are different, researchers need to further clarify the role of physiological and environmental factors in rumination and impaired attentional disengagement.

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