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Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and improving its treatment is a core research priority for future programmes. A change in the view of psychological and biological processes, from seeing them as separate to complementing one another, has introduced new perspectives on pathological mechanisms of depression and treatment mode of action. This review presents a theoretical model that incorporated this novel approach, the cognitive neuropsychological hypothesis of antidepressant action. This model proposes that antidepressant treatments decrease the negative bias in the processing of emotionally salient information early in the course of antidepressant treatment, which leads to the clinically significant mood improvement later in treatment. The paper discusses the role of negative affective biases in the development of depression and response to antidepressant treatments. It also discusses whether the model can be applied to other antidepressant interventions and its potential translational value, including treatment choice, prediction of response and drug development.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date



Antidepressant response, Cognitive neuropsychological model, Emotional processing, Negative bias