Depression and generalizations about the future: Who overgeneralizes what?

Yechiel Klar*, Tal Gabai, Yehudit Baron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depressed and non-depressed participants were compared in their tendency to overgeneralize from a single instance, which, according to the 'cognitive distortion' view is one of the best cognitive indicators of depression. In contrast to previous studies, which asked participants to introspect about their tendency to generalize from different events, we asked participants to make predictions following hypothetical single life events. The first study elicited predictions from negative and positive events. Overall, neither group generalized more than the other. Depressed participants generalized more than non-depressed participants from negative events. Non-depressed participants generalized more from positive events. Depressed, relative to non-depressed participants, were more evenhanded in their generalizations following both positive and negative events. The second study elicited predictions from neutral events. Here too, the two groups did not differ in their degree of generalization. All in all, the findings suggest that, across valences, generalization from a single event to the future is no more a tendency among depressed than among non-depressed individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-584
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


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