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PSY210H1 Lecture Notes - Amplified Bible, Beck Depression Inventory, Sports Game

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-1Lecture #29
Mental Disorders (part III)
Ÿ(Not responsible for post traumatic syndrome from last lecture slides)
ŸDepression is one of the most profound human experience because it is fundamentally about loss
ŸDepression involves wide range of symptoms, core features are persistent feelings of sadness, despair,
unpleasant mood, persistent inability to take routine or pleasurable activities
ŸTwo sides of face of depression, persistent of sadness and anti anehidonia (lack of pleasure or joy)
ŸDisturbances of sleep, appetite, difficulty with concentration, fatigue
ŸWhy do we as a species seem to have this predisposition, to become distressed (like how anxiety was
important to adapting to our environment) but what function does depression serve?
ŸWhat might be some of the reasons to why we are depressed
ŸEvolutionary theory is the least disputed theory, organized principle and framework for all of the life
sciences, it postulates that there is variation in our design of features, some of us are taller, shorter,
weaker, stronger
ŸSome of these design features are heritable (biological basis, we pass then on to our offspring)
ŸNot all features are heritable, and to the extent that some of us have designed features equip us to our
peers to make us more superior, allow some to be better suited in environment, reproduce better,
survive longer
ŸThose designed features that work well are passed along, the ones that don’t work well tend to die off,
and over time the more useful features tend to spread, so long as the environment and the problems in
the environment are the same, the features become typical of the species (universal to all humans)
ŸThings that seem to be good, overtime become typical of the species, what the species is known for,
e.g. the giraffe and their elongated necks
ŸIf we look at our species today and see something that is universal, its possible that that thing evolved,
and was adapted, since we all have it
ŸWe as a species have a peculiar universal, the capacity to be sad
ŸIf you study any group of people, at some point, everyone will report being sad, we as a species are not
vulnerable to this feeling, we all feel sad
ŸSet of circumstances that can make anyone sad, universal, capacity of being sad and depressed, none of
us are immune, if that’s the case, perhaps there is some function of this, why is it that at species has
this predisposition
ŸDepression is intermittently so maladaptive, very unproductive, less socialized, there are a lot of things
depressed people do that seem almost intermittently maladaptive, so how could this be an evolved trait
ŸThe rank theory or social competition theory of depression, rank theorists think that over the course of
human evolution, resources were in scarceness, reproductively related to resources, food, territory,
things that matter to our survival and reproduction was not in abundance, not enough to go around
ŸAs a result, members of the same species must compete for them, out of such competition for
resources, hierarchy emerges, some members will win more often than lose (top of the hierarchy)
ŸHierarchy is a summary of your wins to losses
ŸAnd those who emerge at the top, have priority of access to all of resources
ŸHierarchy is a feature of just about any social organized species (a universal concept), so not surprising
that most species seemed to have evolved particular behavioural strategies to pursue hierarchy
ŸTo become equipped with competitive behaviours, two basic strategies involving strategies to escalate
and de-escalate competition
ŸWe are either going to pick a fight with someone, or surrender
ŸTo escalate a fight, this is a strategy we use when we can beat our competitor, when we are socially
higher and more stronger, to someone who is inferior to us, we fight back
ŸAnd if our competitor is more superior, stronger, we escape, run away, or surrender
ŸSometimes escape is not an option, if this is the limit, you can only fight or run away, the losing
member who wants to escape but is cornered, so all it can do is fight (even thought they know they will
lose. Risk being n=injured and killed|)
ŸIt would benefit if there was an alternate strategy to these two, when loss is predicted, but escape is not
ŸA wide range of life have an alternate strategy which predisposed them to submissive behaviours, this
is what we do when we cant escape, we yield=involuntarily defeat strategy or involuntary
subordination, immediate response when your going to lose but you cant run away, you don’t want to
do it, but you have to
ŸA lot of parts, inhibit dominance behaviour, your losing the contest, you stop demonstrating behaviours
that is going to bring on more attack, you start to submit submissive behaviour (e.g. when wolves are
fighting, when the wolf stretches out its neck, that’s the cue to its component that it has given up)
ŸEvery species has its own signal of submissive behaviour, humans have an additional, we feel
powerless, helpless, worthless, and all of these feelings put us in a losing state of mind which make us
surrender faster, display of submission, inferiority
ŸThis strategy is supposed to be short lived, brief display (e.g. head down, shrunken posture, sadness
seen at the end of a sports game, but it doesn’t last forever, it ends)
ŸBut in the event that reconciliation is not possible, superior who doesn’t accept your submission, this
display doesn’t get to stop
ŸIf you took these different features, and set them in motion and let them run in a loop= clinically
depressed person
ŸWhen a depressed person walks into your office, the behaviour, the language they show all reflect a
kind of involuntary defeat strategy that doesn’t seem to know how to turn itself off
ŸRank theorists argue that depression is a kind of amplified version of the involuntary subordination
Ÿa lot of theorizing about this model based on Paul Gilbert, who wrote about this in the 80s and 90s
ŸBasic questions of testing the ranking theory, first do individuals behave as the rank theorists predict,
fight back to inferiors or escape with superiors, does these basic strategies show up in our daily
ŸSecond, this de-escalation strategy called involuntary defeat, is it amplified in behaviour of people who
are depressed?
ŸIn the first study (prof. Fornieur at McGill) there were normal working adults, studied all of their social
interactions, brought the individuals into the lab (19-70 years old), wide variety of occupations, they
came into a lab, and administered many personality questions, then he gave them record forms, every
time they have significant social interactions (5 minutes or longer, you stop, and exchange behaviours
over reasonable period of time)
ŸMost participants report 6 or 7 interactions a day, about 140 forms per person in a week, approximately
15 000 forms of behaviour
ŸOn these forms, as much information as possible, without any intrusion, certain pieces of information,
who they were interacting with, their role relationship with their partner, who was it in a role sense that
you were interacting with, and rated how criticized they felt during the interaction, how threatened
they felt, people don pick fights, human use symbolic needs= way people evoke competition is through
verbal criticism
ŸSocial behaviours were measured, their dominance, submissiveness, agreeable and quarrelsome
ŸHow people described themselves: Dominance item was “I expressed an opinion“, submissive is “I
gave in“, agreeable behaviour was “I expressed reassurance” and quarrelsome is “I raised my voice”
ŸItems are very much focused on observable behaviour, not what you see yourself doing but also what
others see you doing
ŸThey had measured through that extent to how threatened they felt, and to the extent of the variety of
behaviours they show
ŸIf people are threatened by people low in rank they will retaliate and fight back, but if they were
threatened by someone more superior, they would give in
ŸWorkplace roles, there is always a rank setting, boss, managers, supervisees, does how we respond to a
threat change given our social status in the workplace, and the answer is yes (directly consistent with
ŸGraphs on slide, the columns represent the changes in behaviour that people show as a function of
feeling criticized or threatened
ŸHow does your behaviour change from how you normally act, these columns represent the extensive
change, measure of your response to this new perception
ŸGraph on the left, when we are responding to a threat from a co-worker or who we supervise, someone
who is of equal rank or lower, we fight back, and show a change in quarrelsome behaviour, we escalate
ŸWhen we are interacting with a superior, more socially dominant, our response to the same threat
changes, we experience an inhibition to dominance, and we elevate our submissiveness
ŸIs this set of behaviours connected to depression? Measured in study two, almost all the same features
as study one
ŸMeasured a variety of situations and behaviours, their dominance, their submissiveness, their level of
depression, their BDI (Beck Depression Inventory, widely used), so you knew how depressed
participants were
ŸSlightly different measure of threats, asked how dominantly your interacting partner was behaving
ŸThree pieces of info, how depressed they are, how dominant they see their interacting partner, and how
they behaved during that interaction
ŸThe more depressed participants, act more strongly to perceptions of partner dominance, have an
exaggerated subordinate response
ŸYour interacting partner acts dominantly all of a sudden, how do you behave from whats different from
how you normally behave (changes in behaviour)= the graph
ŸThe purple part of the right graph is for the changes, and the response of dominance towards dominant
people for the non-depressed people, not a very large response, just because someone is speaking
ŸDepressed person, have a very intense response to these very same perceptions, inhibit the quarrelsome
behaviour, stop fighting back and show submissive behaviour
ŸThe key finding is that the notion that the depressed person has this response to everyday perceptions
of partner dominance that they will always lose, they respond exactly the same way as the way normal
people talk to their boss, they feel everyone is superior to them
ŸWhat function might have being sad served in the past for our ancestors given that we all had this
ability=implies that those who lived at the same time as our ancestors who didn’t have this ability, they
died off, their inability to be depressed was an evolutionary disadvantage