The present study examined whether practice in making optimistic future-event predictions would result in change in the hopelessness-related cognitions that characterize depression. Individuals (N = 170) with low, mild, and moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to a condition in which they practiced making optimistic future-event predictions or to a control condition in which they viewed the same stimuli but practiced determining whether a given phrase contained an adjective. Overall, individuals in the induced optimism condition showed increases in optimistic predictions, relative to the control condition, as a result of practice, but only individuals with moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression who practiced making optimistic future-event predictions showed decreases in depressive predictive certainty, relative to the control condition. In addition, they showed gains in efficiency in making optimistic predictions over the practice blocks, as assessed by response time. There was no difference in depressed mood by practice condition. Mental rehearsal might be one way of changing the hopelessness-related cognitions that characterize depression.
- Depressive predictive certainty
- Induced optimism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health