Cognitive processing in bipolar disorder conceptualized using the Interactive Cognitive Subsystems (ICS) model

Claire L Lomax, P J Barnard, D Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Background: There are few theoretical proposals that attempt to account for the variation in affective processing across different affective states of bipolar disorder (BD). The Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS) framework has been recently extended to account for manic states. Within the framework, positive mood state is hypothesized to tap into an implicational level of processing, which is proposed to be more extreme in states of mania.
Method: Thirty individuals with BD and 30 individuals with no history of affective disorder were tested in euthymic mood state and then in induced positive mood state using the Question–Answer task to examine the mode of processing of schemas. The task was designed to test whether individuals would detect discrepancies within the prevailing schemas of the sentences.
Results: Although the present study did not support the hypothesis that the groups differ in their ability to detect discrepancies within schemas, we did find that the BD group was significantly more likely than the control group to answer questions that were consistent with the prevailing schemas, both before and after mood induction.
Conclusions: These results may reflect a general cognitive bias, that individuals with BD have a tendency to operate at a more abstract level of representation. This may leave an individual prone to affective disturbance, although further research is required to replicate this finding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-783
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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