Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Randy Larsen


The present research investigates the cognitive and perceptual mechanisms involved in mania-proneness. Building on the work of Depue and colleagues: Depue & Iacono, 1989; Depue & Zald, 1993) and Gray: 1994), which identifies links between the Behavioral Activation System: BAS) and the symptoms observed in mania, this research investigates the hypothesis that people who are prone to mania exhibit cognitive and perceptual biases in information processing when presented with achievement-oriented stimuli both at baseline, and after the receipt of a reward. These hypothesized biases were measured via an affective flanker task, a suboptimal priming task, and a judgment task about the probability of future events. In addition, affect was assessed at baseline and after the receipt of a reward. Results indicate that BAS was related to an enhanced orientation toward positivity and achievement cues. However, the hypothesis that BAS, positive affect, and enhanced achievement orientation are related to mania-proneness was generally not supported. Contrary to prediction, mania-prone participants exhibited higher levels of BIS, more negative affect, more predictions of negative events, and higher levels of threat perception, suggesting an overall propensity toward negative affect. These results are discussed in terms of previous research in this area, heterogeneity observed in Bipolar Disorder, implications for diagnostic classification, and the notion of Bipolar subtypes.


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