Depressed Not More Accurate

People seem to love the idea that depressed folk are more realistic.  Not so, says an ’06 paper I’ll mention again later this week:

A debate in the depressive realism literature ended in the conclusion that neither depressed nor nondepressed subjects displayed differential accuracy in terms of being able to vary their judgments to achieve accuracy across changing situations (Dykman et al., 1989, p. 442). Instead, who appeared more accurate was an accident of the match between a dispositional bias (chronic perceptions of low or high control) and the degree of control actually available in a given task.

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  • Stephen

    Am i missing something or does this imply no correlation between perceived degree of control and depression?

  • Stephen

    Nevermind, I was missing something.

    Accurate judgments were coincidences of perceived degree of control equating with actual degree of control.

    I should read slower.

  • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

    Stephen, no it doesn’t imply that.

  • friend

    Does research show that pesimistic people tend to be more accurate? I do recall hearing that.

  • Nate

    Do you think this suggests that manic people are also just as realistic as non-manic or
    non-depressed?

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    More people read Wikipedia than this blog. You should edit the Wikipedia page.

  • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

    TGGP, more people read my post than your comment – does that mean you should edit Wikipedia?

  • http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com Neuroskeptic

    Nate, I doubt it, because when you’re manic you tend to believe that you’re the Pope, or God, or things like that.

    To my mind the most interesting point about depressive realism was not that depressives were more realistic but that everyone else was systematically unrealistic. Which is true.

  • Tiiba

    But nerds still get beat up, right? So it’s still true that realistic people are more depressed.

  • http://yudkowsky.net/ Eliezer Yudkowsky

    Well that’s reassuring. Sort of.

  • http://www.allancrossman.com/ Allan Crossman

    More people read Wikipedia than this blog. You should edit the Wikipedia page.

    TGGP, more people read my post than your comment – does that mean you should edit Wikipedia?

    Bah. I’ll do it. 😛

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