the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

depression and persistence

In human behavior on July 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

this week’s economist highlights the recent work of researchers on depression. the progression of mild symptoms of depression to chronic depression in young adults may be linked to an inability to let go of some of our loftier goals. “mild depressive symptoms [are] a natural part of dealing with failure in young adulthood.” the researchers assert, while also hinting at an evolutionary basis for these isolated lows: “in this period of low motivation, energy is saved and new goals can be found. if this mechanism does not function properly, though, severe depression can be the consequence.”

what’s most impressive about these studies—and i think this is a positive trend emerging in scientific research as a whole—is their researchers’ candidness and vigor in explaining, and placing their own study within, the evolution of scientific thinking on a particular subject. the breakthrough-plateau-breakthrough paradigm of research just isn’t applicable to the local, specialized nature of the problems science is asked to resolve.

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