Depressed People Make Better Decisions Than Happy Ones

Lucy & Charlie BrownVia LiveScience:

Depression might not be all bad, new research finds. People with major depressive disorder do better on a decision-making task than people without the disease.

Depression is a psychiatric condition defined by consistently low mood, low self-esteem and loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities. About 20 percent of people worldwide suffer from major depressive disorder, the clinical name, at some point during their lifetime.

This is the first time a positive cognitive effect has been seen in people with major depressive disorder. The researchers suggest that these patients process information more systematically and analytically than their chipper counterparts. They might unconsciously put more effort into their decisions because they desire control of their environment.

The finding conflicts with other research suggesting depressed people are worse at mental tasks, because they get distracted by thoughts of their problems. Previous studies have shown they perform better when asked not to think about their problems.

More on LiveScience

, , , , , ,

  • DeepCough

    Well, how much more proof do you need that Psychiatrists don’t know what they’re talking about?

    • bilbo baggins

      who cares? they prescribe drugs if you tell them the right things. that’s all that matters.. mmm druuuuugs,,,,,

      • superfluous

        those drugs kinda suck, though. or i didn’t tell them the right things :(

    • Voidthought

      I agree with you at one level, but not all psychiatric work is bullshit. With how complex the mind is on multiple levels, you would expect failures and mishaps in the process wouldn’t you? This article, to me, indicates that there are multiple meanings to depression, not just a dichotomized good or bad. I don’t think a depressed person is necessarily a poor decision maker or stupid in any way(of course this varies from case to case). What about Friedrich Nietzsche? He went mad but still contributed massively to our understanding of ourselves in relation to our cultural environment. To discount this study as dumb or that they don’t know what they’re talking about is the same as medical doctors shunning the idea of washing their hands before surgery and seeing other patients in the late 1800s.

    • mrtastycakes

      It’s psychologists who did this study, and it psychologists who don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re not doctors. They can’t prescribe treatments. They can’t help you unless your problem is imaginary.

      Psychiatrists are doctors and can treat medical conditions. They still often don’t know what they’re talking about.

      • DeepCough

        Well, if the Psychiatrists don’t know what they’re talking about, then they probably can’t treat diseases. Whoops.

  • DeepCough

    Well, how much more proof do you need that Psychiatrists don’t know what they’re talking about?

  • BlindDemiurge

    better decisions, except perhaps in the case of whether or not to commit suicide.

  • BlindDemiurge

    better decisions, except perhaps in the case of whether or not to commit suicide.

  • Jason Slupski

    How many Depressed Politicians do You guys see out there? = 0.00%

    How many Bad Decisions? Something closer to 100%!

    CASE CLOSED.

  • Jason Slupski

    How many Depressed Politicians do You guys see out there? = 0.00%

    How many Bad Decisions? Something closer to 100%!

    CASE CLOSED.

  • http://twitter.com/FliXFantatier Christopher A. Jones

    To quote Slatibatfast

    “I’d far rather be happy than right any day”

    • bilbo baggins

      ignorance is bliss

  • http://twitter.com/FliXFantatier Christopher A. Jones

    To quote Slatibatfast

    “I’d far rather be happy than right any day”

  • Bob

    Yeah, purely anecdotal, but when I am suffering from bouts of depression I tend to make very poor choices, fueled by fear, confusion and irrationally bleak outlook for the future. I would like to hear more details about this study.

    • bilbo baggins

      You feel fear when depressed? I usually don’t give a shit to be fearful of anything when I’m depressed. Like, if I died, oh well, cause it can’t get any worse than where I am. But maybe that’s just me.

    • Voidthought

      I think this article is talking about a different level of depression, probably a milder one. But does depression contribute to you making those poor decisions consciously or unconsciously?

  • Bob

    Yeah, purely anecdotal, but when I am suffering from bouts of depression I tend to make very poor choices, fueled by fear, confusion and irrationally bleak outlook for the future. I would like to hear more details about this study.

  • bilbo baggins

    You feel fear when depressed? I usually don’t give a shit to be fearful of anything when I’m depressed. Like, if I died, oh well, cause it can’t get any worse than where I am. But maybe that’s just me.

  • bilbo baggins

    ignorance is bliss

  • bilbo baggins

    who cares? they prescribe drugs if you tell them the right things. that’s all that matters.. mmm druuuuugs,,,,,

  • Voidthought

    I agree with you at one level, but not all psychiatric work is bullshit. With how complex the mind is on multiple levels, you would expect failures and mishaps in the process wouldn’t you? This article, to me, indicates that there are multiple meanings to depression, not just a dichotomized good or bad. I don’t think a depressed person is necessarily a poor decision maker or stupid in any way(of course this varies from case to case). What about Friedrich Nietzsche? He went mad but still contributed massively to our understanding of ourselves in relation to our cultural environment. To discount this study as dumb or that they don’t know what they’re talking about is the same as medical doctors shunning the idea of washing their hands before surgery and seeing other patients in the late 1800s.

  • Voidthought

    I think this article is talking about a different level of depression, probably a milder one. But does depression contribute to you making those poor decisions consciously or unconsciously?

  • Grooveboss

    depressed people choose to kill themselves….

  • Grooveboss

    depressed people choose to kill themselves….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJ7GIF4QJBLSHJRHPRADNBUR3E Jesse

      Already that there’s a stereotype put out there for people whom either don’t interferingly hide or try to skip away from something that’s real… why back it up that they will kill themselves? It’s a thought I believe every one of us human being’s have tampered with in your own mind at your own time. I agree with what @Voidthought said earlier… other then his decision to use Nietzsche as an example of what this article was meant to represent…. that typically (as I would agree) people whom are more analytical then accepting for the spur of the moment – are more likely to make better decisions. People whom are usually depressed are more analytical and doubtful of what is handed – in street/book terms? Smart. People who are smart, can deal with negativity(awareness?) and accept it as part of their reality and some psychiatrist’s themselves I would say make the mistake in telling the difference.

  • superfluous

    those drugs kinda suck, though. or i didn’t tell them the right things :(

  • mrtastycakes

    It’s psychologists who did this study, and it psychologists who don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re not doctors. They can’t prescribe treatments. They can’t help you unless your problem is imaginary.

    Psychiatrists are doctors and can treat medical conditions. They still often don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victor.r.franca Victor R. Franca

    depressed people choose to turn their remains into vinyl… genius

  • http://www.facebook.com/victor.r.franca Victor R. Franca

    depressed people choose to turn their remains into vinyl… genius

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJ7GIF4QJBLSHJRHPRADNBUR3E Jesse

    Already that there’s a stereotype put out there for people whom either don’t interferingly hide or try to skip away from something that’s real… why back it up that they will kill themselves? It’s a thought I believe every one of us human being’s have tampered with in your own mind at your own time. I agree with what @Voidthought said earlier… other then his decision to use Nietzsche as an example of what this article was meant to represent…. that typically (as I would agree) people whom are more analytical then accepting for the spur of the moment – are more likely to make better decisions. People whom are usually depressed are more analytical and doubtful of what is handed – in street/book terms? Smart. People who are smart, can deal with negativity(awareness?) and accept it as part of their reality and some psychiatrist’s themselves I would say make the mistake in telling the difference.

  • DeepCough

    Well, if the Psychiatrists don’t know what they’re talking about, then they probably can’t treat diseases. Whoops.

  • Gnosticsexpot

    depression is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

  • Gnosticsexpot

    depression is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

21