Friday, September 16, 2022

Sadder, but not wiser: Another psychology classic, the popular idea of "depressive realism," bites the dust in failed replication

Dev, Amelia S., Don A. Moore, Sheri L. Johnson, and Karin Garrett. 2022. “Sadder ≠ Wiser: Depressive Realism Is Not Robust to Replication.” PsyArXiv. September 15. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The theory of depressive realism holds that depressed individuals are less prone to optimistic bias, and are thus more realistic, in assessing their control or performance. Since the theory was proposed 40 years ago, many innovations have been validated for testing cognitive accuracy, including improved measures of bias in perceived control and performance. We incorporate several of those innovations in a well-powered, pre-registered study designed to identify depressive realism. Amazon MTurk workers (N = 246) and undergraduate students (N = 134) completed a classic contingency task, an overconfidence task, and measures of mental health constructs, including depression and anxiety. We measured perceived control throughout the contingency task, allowing us to compare control estimates at the trial-level to estimates assessed at task conclusion. We found no evidence that depressive symptoms relate to illusory control or to overconfidence. Our results suggest that despite its popular acceptance, depressive realism is not replicable.

Psychopathy: Significant gaps in the empirical support for the theorized role of the amygdala

How reliable are amygdala findings in psychopathy? A systematic review of MRI studies. Philip Deming, Mickela Heilicher, Michael Koenigs. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, September 15 2022, 104875.

• Reviewed 134 MRI studies of relationships between amygdala and psychopathy

• Null relationships more common than significant positive or negative relationships

• Negative relationships more common for studies with low power

• Many peak coordinates labeled “amygdala” in original paper outside the amygdala

Abstract: The amygdala is a key component in predominant neural circuitry models of psychopathy. Yet, after two decades of neuroimaging research on psychopathy, the reproducibility of amygdala findings is questionable. We systematically reviewed MRI studies (81 of adults, 53 of juveniles) to determine the consistency of amygdala findings across studies, as well as within specific types of experimental tasks, community versus forensic populations, and the lowest- versus highest-powered studies. Three primary findings emerged. First, the majority of studies found null relationships between psychopathy and amygdala structure and function, even in the context of theoretically relevant tasks. Second, findings of reduced amygdala activity were more common in studies with low compared to high statistical power. Third, the majority of peak coordinates of reduced amygdala activity did not fall primarily within the anatomical bounds of the amygdala. Collectively, these findings demonstrate significant gaps in the empirical support for the theorized role of the amygdala in psychopathy and indicate the need for novel research perspectives and approaches in this field.

Keywords: psychopathycallous-unemotionalamygdalaneuroimagingMRI