An open pilot study of training hostile interpretation bias to treat disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

Abstract Objective: Irritability in disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) may be associated with a biased tendency to judge ambiguous facial expressions as angry. We conducted three experiments to explore this bias as a treatment target. We tested: 1) whether youth with DMDD express this bias; 2) whether judgment of ambiguous faces can be altered in healthy youth by training; and 3) whether such training in youth with DMDD is associated with reduced irritability and associated changes in brain function. Methods: Participants in all experiments made happy versus angry judgments of faces that varied along a happy to angry continuum. These judgments were used to quantify a “balance point,” the facial expression at which a participant's judgment switches from predominantly happy to predominantly angry. We first compared balance points in youth with DMDD (n = 63) versus healthy youth (n = 26). We then conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of active versus sham balance-point training in ...
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