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Performance on two cognitive tasks by dysphoric and nondysphoric students

Abstract

Mildly and moderately dysphoric undergraduates and normal controls participated in two tasks: estimating the percentage of reinforcements they had received on an ambiguous laboratory task and recognition of negative and positive adjectives after a 2-week presentation-test interval. The results indicated that moderately dysphoric subjects responded in a more negative direction than normals on both tasks; however, they displayed “distorted” processing on only one measure (underestimation of reinforcement rate in a low reinforcement condition). In contrast, the nondysphoric group displayed a positive, self-enhancing bias on virtually all the measures. The results are discussed in relation to theories of depression, and with regard to problems in assessing cognitive processes.

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This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH 29879-03, Jack E. Hokanson, principal investigator. The authors also express appreciation to Dr. Stephen West for his help in formulating the project.

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Dennard, D.O., Hokanson, J.E. Performance on two cognitive tasks by dysphoric and nondysphoric students. Cogn Ther Res 10, 377–386 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173473

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173473

Key words

  • depression
  • cognitive
  • distortion