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Attention deficit is a major cognitive symptom in major depressive disorder. Studies on attention deficit of the patients with depressive disorder have shown various results depending on difficulty or characteristics of the tasks, the severity of depressive symptoms and accompanying features. Recently functional neuroimaging studies with neurocognitive activation paradigm enable us to investigate the neural network dysfunction associated with attention deficit in patients with depressive disorder. Reviews of relevant articles and literatures revealed that the attention deficit of depressive patients is prominent in effortful information processing task and not in automatic information-processing task. This characteristic may be originated from mild reduction of cognitive resources and the narrowed-focus related to depressive cognitive biases. Findings of neuroimaging studies have found that prefrontal hypoactivity and limbic hyperactivity with compensatory cerebellar hyperactivity may be associated with attention deficit in the patients with depressive disorder. Based on these advances in understanding of the neural network dysfunction, development of treatment strategies and neuroscientific researches validating the efficiency of each treatment should be followed.


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