Affective modulation and dysregulation of cognitive control in bipolar disorder in different states and stages of the disease (completed)

Project C2 complements the approach of project group B (especially project B1) by assessing patients with extreme variations of emotional and activity states, i.e., patients with bipolar affective disorder (BD), to investigate the influence of extreme emotions on cognitive control. In particular, the project aims to clarify effects of extreme intra-individual fluctuations in positive and negative affect in different episodes of bipolar disorder on the balance between complementary control functions related to the shielding-shifting-dilemma and selection-monitoring dilemma, and on the associated meta-control parameters “updating threshold” and “attention breadth”. A central hypotheses is that (hypo)mania is associated with increased cognitive flexibility and an expanded breadth of attention, whereas the opposite will be true for bipolar depression. As part of the overarching aim of project group C to investigate the development of dysfunctions of cognitive control in selected mental disorders, project C2 will assess patients with bipolar disorders in different stages of the illness, from patients with a first mania to those later on in the course of the disease, including subjects in at high-risk states before full manifestation of the illness. Whereas for euthymic bipolar patients deficits in response inhibition, set shifting, executive function, and sustained attention have been shown (presumably reflecting dysfunctions in prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex), to date there is no data on specific paradigms focusing on the mentioned control dilemmas and associated meta-control parameters. Moreover, as no fMRI data are currently available on cognitive control functions as well as resting state connectivity in different phases of BD longitudinally, project C2 will investigate these in detail. Within the CRC the project will contribute both to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of cognitive control dysfunctions in bipolar disorders as well as inform about effects of extreme affective states on the balance between complementary cognitive control functions.