Cognitive Styles and Information Processing Biases

Certain cognitive processes and information-processing biases, some of which are shared with depression, may also characterize BPD. An explanatory style of attributing negative events to internal, specific, and global causes, for example, has long been known to be associated with, and theorized to be a cause of, depression. Yet this style is even more strongly related to BPD (Rose, Abramson, Hodulik, Halberstadt, & Leff, 1994). Arntz, Appels, and Sieswerda (2000) reported that patients with BPD showed more interference on an emotional Stroop task than did normal controls, indicating that more of their attention was drawn to emotional content. They also made more extreme positive and negative evaluations ofpersonalities in film clips with emotional themes than did normal controls or patients with Cluster C disorders (Veen & Arntz, 2000), empirically demonstrating dichoto-mous or extreme thinking. Another example of an information-processing bias in BPD is that parasuicidal (suicidal and/or self-injurious) patients lack positive expectations for the future, and those with BPD have even lower expectations than other parasuicidal patients (MacLeod et al., 2004).

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