The photoperiod model of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) suggests that SAD is caused by abnormal responses to seasonal changes in day length. Clarifying the utility of event-related brain potentials (ERPs) as diagnostic aids or measures of therapeutic efficacy in SAD requires understanding the range of naturally occurring seasonal patterns of variation in human responses. This investigation studied ERPs from non-patients (402 from men, 415 from women) during the pronounced photoperiod variation of the Alaskan subarctic where light availability ranges from 3.20 h in winter to 21.98 h in summer. ANOVA showed significant (P=0.03) main effect of photoperiod in the amplitude and latency of P300 responses, as well as a main effect of sensory modality (P=0.002). There was neither a main effect of gender, nor any significant gender-interactive effect in ERP responses. In clients with SAD, the ERP variability attributed to seasonal photoperiod remains to be clarified.
- Event-related brain potentials
- Seasonal affective disorder