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Visual searching impairment in patients with major depressive disorder: performance in the Raven coloured progressive matrices test

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It is well documented that major depressive disorders (MDD) frequently cause mild cognitive deficits, but it is often difficult to distinguish them from dementia. We examined visual searching impairments in nine MDD patients and nine healthy controls (HC), using the well-known non-verbal cognitive test of Raven's coloured progressive matrices (RCPM). All subjects were shown the slides of RCPM, which contained both symmetrical pattern matching and analogical reasoning tasks, while eye movements were recording by a Free View-DTS (TKK2920). The results showed: (1) The MDD patients showed a significantly longer response times than HC in both tasks, but no major impairment on the saccades between the incomplete figures and six response alternatives. (2) In the analogical reasoning task, MDD patients had a tendency to fixate clearly false alternatives during the problem solving, which evidenced impairment of narrowing down the alternatives to the correct piece.

These findings may show that patients with MDD exhibit visual searching impairments that are similar to visual cognitive deficits suggestive of early dementia.


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