"Depressive realism" assessed via confidence in decision-making



Hancock JA, Moffoot APR & O'Carroll R (1996) "Depressive realism" assessed via confidence in decision-making. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 1 (3), pp. 213-220.

There are two currently influential views regarding the link between cognitive distortions and depression. The first states that depressed individuals perceive the world and themselves with a strong negative bias or distortion, and that mentally healthy individuals perceive the word with relative accuracy. The second "depressive realism" camp argues that healthy individuals are positively biased and the depressed are relatively unbiased and hence, more realistic. In the present investigation, subjects suffering from major depression, subjects recovered from major depression, and a group of healthy controls were examined with regard to their confidence in answering each of 99 general knowledge questions. Confidence ratings were analysed separately according to correct or incorrect responses. There were no significant differences in performance (i.e. accuracy of answer between the three groups). When answering correctly, depressed subjects were significantly less confident than healthy control subjects. On answering incorrectly, none of the three groups were significantly different in their confidence ratings. These findings support the cognitive distortion view of depression and provide no evidence of "depressive realism".

Cognitive Neuropsychiatry: Volume 1, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/1996
PublisherTaylor and Francis/ Psychology Press

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Professor Ronan O'Carroll
Professor Ronan O'Carroll

Professor, Psychology

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