The Brooding Mind: Making the Worst of Ambiguity

The Huffington Post:

Imagine yourself at your 10-year high school reunion, a long anticipated get-together for you and all your old friends. You haven’t seen many of them since graduation day, and naturally everyone is comparing notes on the lives they have lived since then. This puts you in a reflective mood, but not in a good way. Life has been unkind to you — compared to the lives of your friends, who have all been spared your travails. For days after the reunion, you can’t focus on anything but your difficulties, and the unfairness of it all.

If you’re a brooder, that is. Someone else might have the same reunion experience, yet come away with a very different interpretation. Every life has its ups and downs, and yours is not unusually good or bad. That’s life.

That’s the idea that psychological scientist Paula Hertel, of Trinity University in San Antonio, has been exploring in her laboratory. Working with Nilly Mor of Hebrew University and other Trinity colleagues, Hertel designed two experiments to target negative interpretations of ambiguity as a possible cause of brooding — and depression.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology. Follow Wray on Twitter @wrayherbert.

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