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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.

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