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Our illusion of control

A study into depression is shedding new light on a fascinating facet of human psychology – our propensity to delude ourselves into thinking we control events, even when we know we do not.

This so-called “illusion of control” can be both a positive and a negative in our lives, notes Shruti Venkatesh, a UNSW postgraduate research student, whose study was presented at the Brain Sciences UNSW symposium this week.

It has been suggested that depressed people might be less likely to develop an illusion of control because they take a more realistic view of events – known as depressive realism – but the study found no support for that idea: it turns out that people with depression are just as likely as non-depressed people to develop an illusion of control.

Why that should be remains unknown and will be the subject of further research.

Read more at UNSW

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