Alterations in the default mode-salience network circuit provide a potential mechanism supporting negativity bias in depression

Anika Guha, Cindy M. Yee, Wendy Heller, Gregory A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aberrant effective connectivity between default mode (DMN) and salience (SAL) networks may support the tendency of depressed individuals to find it difficult to disengage from self-focused, negatively-biased thinking and may contribute to the onset and maintenance of depression. Assessment of effective connectivity, which can statistically characterize the direction of influence between regions within neural circuits, may provide new insights into the nature of DMN-SAL connectivity disruptions in depression. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was collected from 38 individuals with a history of major depression and 50 healthy comparison participants during completion of an emotion-word Stroop task. Activation within DMN and SAL networks and effective connectivity between DMN and SAL, assessed via Granger causality, were examined. Individuals with a history of depression exhibited greater overall network activation, greater directed connectivity from DMN to SAL, and less directed connectivity from SAL to DMN than healthy comparison participants during negative-word trials. Among individuals with a history of depression, greater DMN-to-SAL connectivity was associated with lower overall network activation and worse task performance during positive-word trials; this pattern was not observed among healthy participants. Present findings indicate that greater network activation and, specifically, influence of DMN on SAL, support negativity bias among previously depressed individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13918
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • attention
  • connectivity
  • depression
  • fMRI
  • Granger causality
  • negativity bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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