By Roberto Mangabeira Unger

Examines the trendy view of human nature and analyzes the will to be permitted by means of people.

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Extra info for Passion: An Essay on Personality

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Alternatively, the research on illusion of control suggests that depression results not so much from perceived lack of control as nondepression results from perceived control. In other words, the tendency to overestimate one's degree of control provides a buffer against depression, and people who do not overestimate their control are more prone to depression. This raises the provocative possibility that the incidence of depression would be higher if everyone accurately perceived the minimal control they have over many objectively uncontrollable events.

When the cause of one's difficulty is thought to be temporary or modifiable, the individual may continue to work toward control and show few helplessness deficits. Thus, the chronicity or time course of a depressive episode may be related to the stability of the perceived causes. Global-specific. , specific). The more global the apparent causes of one's helplessness are, the deeper the depression and the more it generalizes to many areas of life. Thus, from the standpoint of the individual confronting an uncontrollable situation, the most dysfunctional attributions are those that emphasize internal, stable, and global causes, and the least dysfunctional involve factors that are external, unstable, and specific.

Moreover, they can help develop or maintain dysfunctional behavior. Johnson, Ross, and Mastria (1977) presented a case study that exemplifies this point. " He never masturbated but had been brought to orgasm several times by this mysterious entity. Understandably, he was quite concerned. When Johnson et al. encouraged him to attribute his sensations to normal sexual desire (he had no steady partner) and inadvertent masturbation through leg movements, his delusions disappeared and he had no further problems.

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