The Impact of Depression on Social Economic Decision Making
SourceJournal of Abnormal Psychology, 119, 2, (2010), pp. 440-446
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Although the role of emotion in social economic decision making has been increasingly recognized, the impact of mood disorders, such as depression, on such decisions has been surprisingly neglected. To address this gap, 15 depressed and 23 nondepressed individuals completed a well-known economic task, in which they had to accept or reject monetary offers from other players. Although depressed individuals reported a more negative emotional reaction to unfair offers, they accepted significantly more of these offers than did controls. A positive relationship was observed in the depressed group, but not in controls, between acceptance rates of unfair offers and resting cardiac vagal control, a physiological index of emotion regulation capacity. The discrepancy between depressed individuals' increased emotional reactions to unfair offers and their decisions to accept more of these offers contrasts with recent findings that negative mood in nondepressed individuals can lead to lower acceptance rates. This suggests distinct biasing processes in depression, which may be related to higher reliance on regulating negative emotion.
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