Depressive symptoms and alterations in sucrose taste perception: Cognitive bias or a true change in sensitivity?
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Previous studies have reported elevated taste thresholds in depressed subjects, but those studies did not control for changes in response bias. The current study used signal detection analyses to address this shortcoming. Sucrose detection thresholds were measured (1) in subjects with high and low Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) scores who did not meet standard criteria for current Major Depressive Episode (MDE); and (2) in subjects who did fulfil standard criteria for MDE. Subjects with low HAM-D scores produced significantly more false alarms than the other two groups, but taste sensitivity, as indexed by d', did not vary significantly across groups. These results suggest that changes in response bias underlie previously reported increases in sucrose taste thresholds in depressed subjects.
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