In the world of psychology, "depressive realism" refers to a theory that while people suffering from depression may have their impressions and behaviors shaped by distorted perceptions of the world, those distortions may actually grant them a more realistic view and understanding of things.
Said another way: people who are depressed might see the world more clearly than those who are not, because those who are not depressed suffer from positive, optimistic perceptual distortions.
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This theory originated in the late-1970s, and was refined through the 1980s.
And it posits, essentially, that non-depressed brains nudge us toward positive, optimistic impressions, because that upbeat-ness helps us survive the trials and tribulations of life.
Lacking such illusions, this theory says, we may be less likely to survive all the horribleness we have to wade through on a day to day basis.
This doesn't mean it for certain isn't a real thing, but it does indicate we have less reason to believe it, and earlier research pointing in its direction may not hold up under increased scrutiny.
It's not uncommon for these types of concepts to be supported, then not supported, then supported again, back and forth, with each new round of evidence casting doubt or providing more support for the concept under question.
These back-and-forth, oppositional waves of data are useful in refining such concepts, as they tend to help these ideas become tighter and more focused over time: stuff that gains more support moves toward the core of the theory, while less-certain or demonstrably false components are whittled away.
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