Table 1 Common types of cognitive distortions associated with depression65 and their definitions

From: Individuals with depression express more distorted thinking on social media

Category Definition Examples
Catastrophizing Exaggerating the importance of negative events ‘The evening will be a disaster’
Dichotomous reasoning Thinking that an inherently continuous situation can fall into only two categories ‘No one will ever like me’
Disqualifying the positive Unreasonably discounting positive experiences ‘OK but1 my grade was not that good2
Emotional reasoning Thinking that something is true on the basis of how one feels, ignoring the evidence to the contrary ‘My grades are good but it still feels1 like I will fail2
Fortune-telling Making predictions, usually negative ones, about the future ‘Whatever I try I will not be successful’
Labelling and mislabelling Labelling yourself or others while discounting evidence that could lead to less disastrous conclusions ‘I am a1 total2 loser3
Magnification and minimization Magnifying negative aspects or minimizing positive aspects ‘My good grades are really not important’
Mental filtering Paying too much attention to negative details instead of the whole picture ‘If I only worked harder, I would be more successful’
Mindreading Believing you know what others are thinking ‘Everyone believes1 I am a2 failure3
Overgeneralizing Making sweeping negative conclusions on the basis of a few examples ‘Nobody ever cares for me’
Personalizing Believing others are behaving negatively because of oneself, without considering more plausible or external explanations for behaviour ‘Everyone thinks1 I am a loser2 for calling her’
Should statements Having a fixed idea on how you and/or others should behave ‘I have to1 to do this or I will not2 make it to the weekend’
  1. Some of the examples contain more than one type of CDS, indicated by superscript numbers.