This week we talk to Jonathan Rottenberg
Jonathan Rottenberg is a leading researcher in the area of emotion and psychopathology, where he has focused on major depression. He is author of the book, The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. The book is a new look at depression. Depression is discussed as an evolutionary adaptation that has gone wrong in our current culture. Depression is not thought of as a deficiency, or a lack of something. Instead he looks at depression through the lens of mood.
He edited Emotion and Psychopathology: Bridging Affective and Clinical Science, published by the American Psychological Association. Since receiving his PhD degree from Stanford University, he has been at the University of South Florida, where he is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Mood and Emotion Laboratory. His work has been generously funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health and he has authored over 35 scientific publications, including many in the top journals in psychology and psychiatry. His work has received national and international media coverage, reported in outlets such as Science News, Scientific American, and the The New York Times.
In This Interview Jonathan and I Discuss…
- The One You Feed parable.
- Depression as an evolutionary adaptation.
- Mood theory versus the defect theory of depression.
- That in our society incidence of depression is growing.
- The evidence for an evolutionary view of depression.
- How the purpose of depression is to help us disengage from activities that are not fruitful.
- How the defect theory of depression has no way to account for the growth of depression.
- How key human tendencies such as language and goal setting can exacerbate depression.
- The human tendency to make meaning out of everything and the role this can play in depression.
- The role of rumination in depression.
- Persistence of low mood is a key indicator in long term depression.
- His personal battle with depression.
- The three things that seed low mood: Events, Temperaments and Routines.
- The emotional set point theory.
- How living in a culture so obsessed with happiness is partially responsible for the epidemic of depression.
- Social media and the role it plays in depression.
- The inability to tolerate a little bit of depression can create a crisis where someone comes to question the whole path of their life.
- The goal of evolution is survival, not happinesss.
- Using medicine for depression as a step on the path.
- Having higher standards for depression sufferers.
- Using depression as a bridge to a better life.
- Three useful approaches to depression: meditation, cognitive therapy and acceptance.
- How these approaches all turn down the volume on the meaning making machine.
- Emotional context insensitivity.
- Depressed people react less to negative stimulus than non-depressed people.
- Anger can be a useful tool in getting out of depression.
- Depression can be caused by over attachment to goals, not under attachment.