Do depressed individuals make greater use of contextual information to "correct" self-relevant interpretations?
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Studies on the major cognitive theories consistently indicate that depressed individuals process information in a selective and negatively biased manner. On the other hand, there is a body of social cognition research that suggests that depressed individuals are more extensive and even-handed compared to nondepressed individuals. The purpose of the two studies presented here was to examine both negative biases and correction processes during the interpretation of self-referent information in depression. The presented studies investigated differences in depressed and non-depressed participants’ judgments about the self-implications of negative events, in hypothetical (Study 1) and simulated (Study 2) contexts. It was predicted that depressives’ selfjudgments would be characteristically negative in the face of mildly negative and ambiguous self-relevant information but that depressed individuals would show greater evidence of correcting these judgments when mitigating information was provided. The results of Study 1 were generally consistent with predictions, whereas Study 2 yielded inconclusive results.