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Korn, Christoph W.; La Rosée, Lioba; Heekeren, Hauke R. and Roepke, Stefan (2016): Processing of information about future life events in borderline personality disorder. In: Psychiatry Research, Vol. 246: pp. 719-724

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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is associated with negative self-images. However, it has remained underexplored whether BPD patients hold negative views of their personal future. When receiving information about possible future live events, healthy participants tend to update their estimates more toward desirable than toward undesirable information. Here, we test whether BPD patients (n=21) process information about their future in a more negative fashion than healthy controls (n=79). Participants rated their probability of experiencing 45 adverse life events before and after receiving statistical information about the average probability of these events. BPD patients first estimated their probability of experiencing negative life events higher than healthy controls. However, after receiving information about the life events the estimates of two groups did not differ. Both groups updated their estimates more toward desirable than toward undesirable information. Thus, our findings suggest a nuanced picture. At the outset, BPD patients appear pessimistic but they might be able to overcome their pessimism when provided with relevant information. Taken together, BPD patients were initially more pessimistic about their personal future than healthy controls. Both groups showed positively biased updating without evidence for differences in BPD patients.

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