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Performance benefits of depression: sequential decision making in a healthy sample and a clinically depressed sample


von Helversen, Bettina; Wilke, Andreas; Johnson, Tim; Schmid, Gabriele; Klapp, Burghard (2011). Performance benefits of depression: sequential decision making in a healthy sample and a clinically depressed sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(4):962-968.

Abstract

Previous research reported conflicting results concerning the influence of depression on cognitive task performance. Whereas some studies reported that depression enhances performance, other studies reported negative or null effects. These discrepant findings appear to result from task variation, as well as the severity and treatment status of participant depression. To better understand these moderating factors, we study the performance of individuals-in a complex sequential decision task similar to the secretary problem-who are nondepressed, depressed, and recovering from a major depressive episode. We find that depressed individuals perform better than do nondepressed individuals. Formal modeling of participants' decision strategies suggested that acutely depressed participants had higher thresholds for accepting options and made better choices than either healthy participants or those recovering from depression.

Abstract

Previous research reported conflicting results concerning the influence of depression on cognitive task performance. Whereas some studies reported that depression enhances performance, other studies reported negative or null effects. These discrepant findings appear to result from task variation, as well as the severity and treatment status of participant depression. To better understand these moderating factors, we study the performance of individuals-in a complex sequential decision task similar to the secretary problem-who are nondepressed, depressed, and recovering from a major depressive episode. We find that depressed individuals perform better than do nondepressed individuals. Formal modeling of participants' decision strategies suggested that acutely depressed participants had higher thresholds for accepting options and made better choices than either healthy participants or those recovering from depression.

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20 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:November 2011
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:32
Last Modified:03 Mar 2017 09:32
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0021-843X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023238
PubMed ID:21500878

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