Depressive symptoms enhance loss-minimization, but attenuate gain-maximization in history-dependent decision-making
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Individuals with depressive symptoms typically show deficits in decision-making. However, most work has emphasized decision-making under gain-maximization conditions. A gain-maximization framework may undermine decision-making when depressive symptoms are present because depressives are generally more sensitive to losses than gains. The present study examined decision making in a non-clinical sample of depressive and non-depressive individuals under gain-maximization or loss-minimization conditions using a task for which the currently available rewards depend upon participants' previous history of choices. As predicted, we found a cross over interaction whereby depressive individuals were superior to non-depressive individuals under loss-minimization conditions, but were inferior to non-depressive individuals under gain-maximization conditions. In addition, we found that loss-minimization performance was superior to gain-maximization performance for depressive individuals, but that gain-maximization performance was superior to loss-minimization performance for non-depressive individuals. These results suggest that decision making deficits observed when depressive symptoms are present may be attenuated when decisions involve minimizing losses rather than maximizing gains.
author list (cited authors)
Maddox, W. T., Gorlick, M. A., Worthy, D. A., & Beevers, C. G.