When does interpretation bias go awry? A cognitive-interpersonal investigation of the nature, correlates, and consequences of interpretation inflexibility in depression.

01 October 2018 → 31 May 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Biological and physiological psychology
    • General psychology
    • Other psychology and cognitive sciences
Project description

Improving our understanding of mechanisms underlying depression is vital to advance current
treatments. Cognitive-interpersonal theories postulate that a bias toward inferring negative
interpretations of social information plays a crucial role in vulnerability to depression. Yet, it
remains unclear how this interpretation bias exerts its toxic effects. In three research lines, this
project expands on the novel hypothesis that the inflexibility with which negative interpretations
are formed and maintained sets the stage for depression. Research line 1 aims to characterize the
nature of interpretation inflexibility in depression. Research line 2 studies how interpretation
inflexibility dysregulates emotion generation and (social) emotion regulation. Research line 3
examines whether interpretation inflexibility predicts changes in (social) emotion regulation and
depression during treatment. To achieve the objectives, this project integrates cross-sectional and
longitudinal study designs that combine convergent methods (self-report, observation,
experimental protocols) in different contexts (laboratory, daily life) and samples (community,
clinical settings). This project will (a) contribute to understanding the nature, correlates, and
consequences of a critical vulnerability marker for depression, (b) provide empirical grounds to
extend dominant theories beyond their current boundaries, and (c) guide novel advances in
treatment to alleviate the burden imposed by depression.