Thinking disorder in depression

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983 Jul;40(7):775-80. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790060073009.


This experiment demonstrated abstract reasoning deficits in depressed patients and detailed some of the components of cognition that may determine such deficits. Subjects were given a discrimination learning problem in which possible solutions had to be formulated and tested against new information. Depressed subjects performed more poorly on the task than controls. Two types of errors--inability to narrow down the set of possible solutions (poor "focusing") and perseveration on disconfirmed hypotheses--hampered the performance of depressed but not control subjects. While logic, memory, and attention were intact at an elementary level, the inability to coordinate these functions in a complex task appeared to be an important feature of the depressive impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logic
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Problem Solving
  • Thinking*