Impaired context maintenance in mild to moderately depressed students
We test the hypothesis that people with depression experience difficulties in maintaining task-relevant context information over longer periods of time using the AX version of the continuous performance task (AX-CPT). The AX-CPT requires that participants maintain a context cue (A) in an active state in order to respond correctly to a target cue (X) presented after a short delay. A total of 40 nondepressed and mild to moderately depressed students completed versions of the task with short (1-s) or long (10-s) interstimulus intervals (ISIs). Mildly depressed participants made significantly more context-dependent (BX) errors, unlike controls who made more errors on trials where good context processing would impair performance (AY). This pattern of errors was only evident in the long ISI condition, suggesting poor maintenance of contextual information.