Résumé : Behavioral literature investigating emotional processes in depressive populations (i.e., unipolar and bipolar depression) states that, compared to healthy controls, depressive subjects exhibit disrupted emotional processing, indexed by lower performance and/or delayed response latencies. The development of brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provided the possibility to visualize the brain regions engaged in emotional processes and how they fail to interact in psychiatric diseases. However, fMRI suffers from poor temporal resolution and cognitive function involves various steps and cognitive stages (serially or in parallel) to give rise to a normal performance. Thus, the origin of a behavioral deficit may result from the alteration of a cognitive stage differently situated along the information-processing stream, outlining the importance of access to this dynamic "temporal" information. In this paper, we will illustrate, through depression, the role that should be attributed to cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs). Indeed, owing to their optimal temporal resolution, ERPs can monitor the neural processes engaged in disrupted cognitive function and provide crucial information for its treatment, training of the impaired cognitive functions and guidelines for clinicians in the choice and monitoring of appropriate medication for the patient. © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS.