Date of Award
Theory of Mind (ToM) is the social-cognitive skill of attributing beliefs, feelings, and intentions to others in order to predict their future behavior. Past research on ToM and depression is quite ambiguous; some studies have found significant impairment of ToM performance in depressed individuals, while others have found that depressed individuals perform better than those without depression. The purpose of the study was to clarify this ambiguity by considering the phenomenon of negative illusory bias (NIB) as a potential mediating variable. NIB refers to the tendency of competent individuals to underestimate their abilities. Therefore, along with measures of ToM and depression symptomology, the present study composed and administered original measures of NIB in an attempt to capture the interplay of these three concepts. All 13 participants in the study were Butler undergraduate students. While the original hypothesis was not supported by a mediational analysis, the data revealed significant relationships between depressive symptomology and performance assessment. Limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed.
Boyer, Jaclyn, "Impairment or underestimation? Negative illusory bias in depressive symptoms and theory of mind" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 529.