Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 399–412 | Cite as

Perception and recall of interpersonal feedback: Negative bias in depression

  • Ian H. Gotlib


Recent research in depression has raised questions concerning the accuracy with which environmental information is processed. The present study was designed to address this issue by examining the perception and recall of evaluative feedback in clinically depressed psychiatric patients in an interpersonal situation. Depressed and nondepressed psychiatric inpatients and nondepressed hospital employees participated in dyadic interactions with age-matched opposite-sex strangers, discussing their responses to a variety of hypothetical situations. Following the interaction, each subject was given a sheet of paper containing ratings on 13 bipolar adjectives, ostensibly an evaluation of the subject completed by an assistant behind a one-way mirror. In fact, all subjects received identical rating sheets. Subjects were asked to indicate their reactions to this evaluation and were subsequently required to reproduce the evaluation from memory on a blank rating sheet. Although no group differences were obtained with respect to the perceived accuracy of the evaluation, the depressed patients considered the assessment to be less favorable overall than did subjects in either of the nondepressed groups. Furthermore, the depressed subjects, to a significantly greater extent than the nondepressed subjects, recalled the evaluation to be more negative than was actually the case. These results are discussed in terms of both cognitive and interpersonal models of depression, and directions for future research are advanced.


Depression Negative Bias Psychiatric Inpatient Hypothetical Situation Identical Rating 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian H. Gotlib
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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