Three Faults of Depressive Prospection

Simulation of possible futures.

The first fault concerns the construction of possible futures. Depressed people tend to imagine fewer positive scenarios and depressed (and anxious) people tend to imagine negative future scenarios more quickly and easily than controls (Bjarehed, Sarkohi, & Andersson, 2010; MacLeod & Cropley, 1995; Miles, MacLeod, & Pote, 2004). Moreover, depressed people imagine positive future events less vividly than controls do (Morina, Deeprose, Pusowski, Schmid, & Holmes, 2011), and this is a problem because vividly imagined scenarios are more believable than vague ones and vivid images evoke stronger emotions than words do (Holmes & Mathews, 2010). Vivid mental images of one's own death are especially dangerous, as these flashforwards are linked to increased suicide risk (Hales, Deeprose, Goodwin, & Holmes, 2011). Conversely, imagining positive future events may buffer against sui- cidality and can predict suicidality better than global hopelessness does (O'Connor, Fraser, Whyte, MacHale, & Masterton, 2008).

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