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Model of Depression and Motivation


think again losers
Local time
Today 4:42 PM
Mar 17, 2011
I just had a massive Ni moment (even though it's a shadow). I'm not sure if the literature already contains such a model, as it's not an area I have spent much time studying. I do have depression, and the aspect that I find most difficult to deal with is the lack of motivation. This is the first iteration, which I spewed out in a word document as soon as I got home.

Depression is associated with decreased motivation and disorganisation.
Depression is a tax.


Depression is a flat[?] and global adjustment to all subjective perceptions. It modifies all perceptions to cause the subject to derive less pleasure from any given scenario.

If everything is enjoyed less, this makes rewards less rewarding and punishments more severe. This would cause the individual to be more motivated to avoid punishment than he would be to seek reward (even more so than the average person, as this is already a trend).

Rational behaviour constitutes performing the action that gives the greatest positive outcomes when compared to negative outcomes.

[Rational Behaviour] = Greatest [Utility]

[Utility] = [Positive outcome] – [Negative Outcome]

If all outcomes have a negative modifier, then both negative and positive outcomes of any given event are lower. This means that the ratio of positive to negative is skewed towards the negative twice. Productivity required for outcome is worse, and the reward is less. This means that the number of viable behaviours (viable being defined as any action in which the positive outcome outweighs the negative) is reduced.

How does this lead to inactivity?

Any behaviour that requires the individual to temporarily forgo pleasure, walking to the shop say, requires the individual to pay the depression tax twice.

So why are depressed people so disorganised?

Any amount of planning also attracts the depression tax. For a depressed individual to plan out and execute an investment behaviour, they must first pay the tax for planning, then pay the tax for producing, and then pay the tax on positive outcomes. This means that quite often, it is more efficient for the depressed individual to leave the future unplanned, and not work towards any positive goals. The optimal point of tradeoff is to leave things just unplanned enough to avoid all punishment, but to never work towards any but the most enticing rewards.

Risk assessment

If all outcomes are taxed, then risk/reward assessments are painstakingly negative. In contrast with the ‘nothing to lose’ attitude that a depressed person might exhibit, this model would predict less risk taking behaviour from depressed persons. This is a difficult area of contention, as nihilism is more prevalent among depressed individuals.


This is perhaps why I am so predisposed to thinking and analysis. A thought that is proven correct is a small reward, but a thought that is proven wrong is an opportunity to grow. There is no risk-taking involved in thinking.
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