ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 725-738.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00725

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Emotional circuit abnormalities and cognitive affective bias: Neuropsychological mechanisms of pain-depression comorbidity

LIN Xiaoxiao1,2; LUO Fei1; WANG Jingyan1   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2015-05-16 Online:2016-05-15 Published:2016-05-15
  • Contact: LUO Fei, E-mail:


Comorbidity of chronic pain and depressive disorders are highly prevalent, yet no sound theory has been proposed to describe the underpinning neuropsychological mechanism. Brain imaging studies reveal that chronic pain and depressive disorders share similar emotional circuit abnormalities, which are in consistent with the fact that patients suffering from chronic pains or depression show similar cognitive- affective bias (CAB) towards pain-related or depression-related information in behavioral measures. Recently, convergent evidence strongly suggests that these emotional circuit abnormalities, causing similar deficits in information processing, may underlie the neuropsychological processes of pain-depression comorbidity. Cognitive-affective biases, as a set of behavioral indicators reflecting these abnormalities, may play an important role in emersion, development and maintenance of pain-depression comorbidity.

Key words: chronic pain, depression, comorbidity, emotional circuits, cognitive affective bias