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08-04-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2017

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2017

Are Depressed People More or Less Susceptible to Informational Social Influence?

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2017
Christine Hofheinz, Markus Germar, Thomas Schultze, Johannes Michalak, Andreas Mojzisch


When making judgments and decisions, people suffering from depression are often faced with opinions and advice from others (e.g., from their therapists) but it is unclear how their psychopathology alters the utilization of such information. This study is the first to examine whether depressed people are more or less susceptible to informational social influence. To this end, we employed the Judge–Advisor-System, which allows for a pure test of how people utilize information from others. We found that depressed participants had significantly higher advice taking values than non-depressed participants, which was mediated by self-esteem. A fine-grained analysis of these group differences revealed that depressed participants were more likely to revise their initial estimates after receiving advice than non-depressed people. Yet, once having decided to revise their estimates, depressed people did not weight advice more heavily. Theoretical implications concerning two qualitatively independent effects of depression on advice taking are discussed.

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