The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of incentive-induced arousal on the diffuse and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) response during cognitive activation for normal and depressed groups. Two normal rest CBF measurements were followed by two mental mathematics activation CBF measurements. For the first activation measurement, half the subjects in each group were offered monetary incentive for correct performance and half the subjects received no monetary incentive. All subjects were offered monetary incentive on the final activation run. The effect of monetary incentive on the first activation run was to increase CBF activation at four detectors in the left hemisphere. Incentive did not affect the CBF activation response when introduced following practice on the activation task (on the final run). Depressed groups had lower resting blood flow than normals, but the distribution of flow and the CBF response to incentive were almost identical in the two groups. © 1984.