Isaias Perez1, Bryan George1, Cozy DeRosa1, Ashley Latibeaudiere1, Dr. Max Owens1; 1University of South Florida
Rumination is a prominent risk factor contributing to longer and more severe depression. As a result, there is widespread interest in determining the mechanisms underlying the development of this factor. Studies show that inhibition, the ability to override an automatic response, is associated with rumination, but the nature of this relationship is unclear. This experiment addresses this gap in the literature by measuring inhibition directly using an eye-tracking task. In the task, participants make a saccade to a target while ignoring a distractor placed near the target on some trials. The curvature of eye movements towards and away from the distractor, reflecting poor or strong inhibition, was measured. The moderating impact of depressive rumination and its subcomponents - reflection and brooding-- on curvature were also analyzed. A marginally significant main effect of rumination was found where higher levels of rumination resulted in more curvature towards distractors. This effect was driven by having more of a reflective than brooding style of rumination. Furthermore, reflection was associated with having faster saccade latencies and more curvature towards distractors at faster latencies. Therefore, rumination affects the inhibition of reflexive saccades towards distracting information in the environment.