If you have ever suffered from depression or know someone who has, it can obviously be a very debilitating and devastating problem. Our book notes that more than 16 percent of Americans are affected by major depression illustrating that it is a widespread and common problem in society.
Recently, as described in this NY Times magazine article, researchers have examined the relationship between the mental act of rumination and its influence on people suffering from some types of depression. In part, what has been found is that; "the capacity for intense focus, they note, relies in large part on a brain area called the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is located a few inches behind the forehead." The intense focus of this part of the brain creates can cause people to fixate on particular concepts, which can be useful if someone is attempting to conceptualize complex and difficult problems, but it can also be harmful if the same focus fixates on negative and unhealthy thought processes. While the arguments made by this type of research remain very controversial, I found it interesting that there might be connections to particular types of thinking that could lead to both productive insight and unhealthy mental thought processes depending on the state of an individual.
I enjoyed this entry on OCD, I thought it was interesting.