Depressed people are more realistic?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Nasor, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I recently read this article on depressive realism which I though was quite interesting. What it basically boils down to is that there's a good bit of scientific evidence that, contrary to the popular belief that depressed people have an unrealistically negative view of the world, they actually have a pretty accurate view of the world. It's all us normal, non-depressed people who have an inaccurate world view, because we consistently hold unrealistically positive opinions.

    There are several interesting examples cited in the article. The most interesting one for me had to do with eating disorders. Apparently despite the wide-spread notion that people with eating disorders suffer from unrealistic body image, people with such disorders are actually astonishingly good at predicting how attractive random strangers would rate pictures of their bodies. Ordinary people, on the other hand, consistently rate themselves as far more attractive than they actually are. It seems that eating disorders might be caused not by unrealistic body image, but rather by having a body image that's too realistic.

    Similarly, most mentally-healthy people have far more positive ideas about how other people view them, how important they are, and how much control they have over their own lives than can be objectively supported. Depressed people, on the other hand, tend to rate themselves more accurately. Ordinary people also consistently over-estimate their own competency at performing various tasks, while depressed people usually are able to accurately self-asses their own competency.

    The implication is that it might be necessary for most people to maintain positive self-delusions in order to stay mentally healthy. Of course, it's not clear whether an inability to maintain such delusions is the cause of the mental illness, or if the mental illness (depression, anorexia, etc) results in the person losing the delusions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
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  3. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah.

    People say I have low self esteem, but I disagree. I see myself as a regular 20 year old who makes shitty mistakes sometimes. That's not being negative any more than saying the world is round is being negative.
     
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    On a related note - there seems to be a connection between a person's IQ/giftedness and existential depression:

     
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  7. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I'm one of those 'gifted' idealists. Well, I'm classified as gifted. I have a powerful motor in my head that I've never really learned to use properly.

    I don't have depression. But I think I understand why people do. Life is basically a loop, for most people. You eat, shit, sleep and go to work so you can eat, shit, sleep and go to work tomorrow, and so on. Why? Why stay alive? Just to prove you're a man, or woman, for not committing suicide?
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    You seem to be more on the anger end of the spectrum.
    But you still seem to experience "life as it is usually lived" as rather meaningless. And you seem to rebell against that, to be angry at that - or at least just generally angry.

    Many people see little problem with "life as it is usually lived", they don't mind living so, and whatever concerns do come up in their minds, they do not seem to take them seriously.
     
  9. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    You just listed two of the major sources of pleasure in my life. Three, if I get to use alternative definitions of "sleep." Granted, not everyone can like their job. But if eating seems like a tedium to you, maybe you aren't eating in the right restaurants? Eating is one of the great sources of pleasure in my life. I love food. Which is why I have to struggle constantly to continue to fit into my size 34 pants...
     
  10. SilentLi89 Registered Senior Member

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    I hope they only asked people who are Bulimic or have a Binge Eating disorder, because if they only asked anorexics, I find that to be pretty weak evidence. It is no scientific wonder that people with poor body image would rate themselves as low on the scale of attractiveness. For them it is a self fulfilling prophecy. Plus sick people usually know that they are not attractive. A man disfigured by a facial cancer knows people don't find him appealing to look at. And it seems a bit unrelated, as not all people with eating disorders are depressed. Anorexics and bulimics have a mental distortion of what they truly look like. They believe that their bodies are far larger than they actually are, even if they are of a healthy weight and have physically attractive bodies or if they are dangerously underweight.
     
  11. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    I agree. And I think one of the problems some people have is the ability to see life (and their own lives) in different perspectives. It's often difficult, for example, for people to view themselves as only a tiny cog in a giant machine. They've most probably been told all their lives that they can be anything they want to be - which is, of course, just so much bullshit and social brainwashing.

    But with all that in mind, there's a very, very wide range of perspectives that are easily assimilated into our lives. Sure, you might be just a tiny part of a huge universe, you can still be very important to those close to you.

    It's all a matter of being able to see the various perspectives of ones life.

    Baron Max
     
  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    For most of their lives, isn't that exactly what Isaac Newton, Pastuer, Edison, Einstein, et. al. did? Surely you don't think that every single day of their lives was discovering/inventing some new and exciting and Earthshattering, do you?

    By the way, VI, what do you do in between eating, shitting, sleeping and going to work? Are you just watching the clock for the next cycle to kick in so you can do something?

    Baron Max
     
  13. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Nope. They controlled for body weight in the study. Even the people with eating disorders who had a normal, healthy body weight were much better at self-evaluating how attractive they were than people of the same weight who didn't have an eating disorder.
    Well, they are related in that the people with the mental illness are the ones who have a more objectively accurate perception of things than the "sane" people. Of course eating disorders and depression aren't exactly the same mental illness.
    Yes, that's been the standard assumption for a while now. But this research vary strongly indicates that the assumption is false. The evidence suggests that it's more a matter of the people with eating disorders not having the distorted, overly-positive body image that healthy people have.
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Actually you try to stay alive to see what tomorrow brings, perhaps a better time or a way to rid yourself of you mental illness and you also have friends and family that need you as well many times so they would be very hurt if you left them that way.
     
  15. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't there a middle ground though? You can be realistic without being negative.

    I wouldn't say I have a highly positive body image, but I don't think I look revolting either.
     
  16. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not suicidal, lol. Homicidal, sure, suicidal, nope. Hehe.

    I'm talking theoretically. I understand, or I think I understand a little, of what goes in a depressed mind. I understand the idea that everyday life is a pointless routine of eating and pooping and getting mundane jobs done so you can continue to eat, poop, and get mundane jobs done. Sometimes when I talk with a depressed person I think 'there but by the grace go I....' ...I'm grateful sometimes for being a 'rage' type rather than an 'apathy' type. If I weren't I probably would have gotten depression, too.
     
  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Sure you can. But statistically, you probably aren't.
     
  18. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I am, and yeah, I do. I don't go about feeling like that all the time, but it is definitely a recurrent thing for me, the feeling that there's surely more to life than eating, pooing, breathing, etc.
     
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Well there's plenty more to do than what your saying that's for certain. Whether you take advantage of all the things out there is up to you to do so.
     
  20. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    There is great kernals of truth lurking in that position. After all, we are all going to die and be feed to maggots - yet none are in panic. The normal ones are too busy panicking about parking tickets. This raises the question, who is the abnormal one and by which logical criteria?
     
  21. pineapplepizza Registered Senior Member

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    What about their thoughts on suicide?
     
  22. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    These are legitimate thoughts once hope is deprived in realistic terms. Its not just a sick mind.
     
  23. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    I think between the eating, pooping and working you should try to get some sex in.

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    Especially you Baron you old dog lol

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