The more chaotic things get, the harder it is for people with clinical anxiety and/or depression to make sound decisions and to learn from their mistakes. On a positive note, overly anxious and depressed people’s judgment can improve if they focus on what they get right, instead of what they get wrong, suggests a new UC Berkeley study.
The findings, published today, Dec. 22, in the journal eLife, are particularly salient in the face of a COVID-19 surge that demands tactical and agile thinking to avoid illness and even death.
UC Berkeley researchers tested the probabilistic decision-making skills of more than 300 adults, including people with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. In probabilistic decision making, people, often without being aware of it, use the positive or negative results of their previous actions to inform their current decisions.
The researchers found that the study participants whose symptoms intersect with both anxiety and depression — such as worrying a lot, feeling unmotivated or not feeling good about themselves or about the future — had the most trouble adjusting to changes when performing a computerized task that simulated a volatile or rapidly changing environment.
Conversely, emotionally resilient study participants, with few, if any, symptoms of anxiety and depression, learned more quickly to adjust to changing conditions based on the actions they had previously taken to achieve the best available outcomes.
Read the rest of the article at Berkeley News here.
If you are suffering from Anxiety or Depression, please see our information on Treatment for Depression or Anxiety Therapy in NYC.