A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
Review of abnormal self-knowledge in major depressive disorder (2019)

Lou, Y., Lei, Y., Mei, Y., Leppänen, P. H., & Li, H. (2019). Review of abnormal self-knowledge in major depressive disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, Article 130. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00130

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLou, Yixue; Lei, Yi; Mei, Ying; Leppänen, Paavo H.T.; Li, Hong

Journal or seriesFrontiers in Psychiatry



Publication year2019


Issue number0

Article number130

PublisherFrontiers Research Foundation

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/63477


Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is an affective disorder that is harmful to both physical and mental health. Abnormal self-knowledge, which refers to abnormal judgments about oneself, is a core symptom of depression. However, little research has summarized how and why patients with MDD differ from healthy individuals in terms of self-knowledge.

Objective: To gain a better understanding of MDD, we reviewed previous studies that focused on the behavioral and neurological changes of self-knowledge in this illness.

Main Findings: On the behavioral level, depressed individuals exhibited negative self-knowledge in an explicit way, while more heterogeneous patterns were reported in implicit results. On the neurological level, depressed individuals, as compared with non-depressed controls, showed abnormal self-referential processing in both early perception and higher cognitive processing phases during the Self-Referential Encoding Task. Furthermore, fMRI studies have reported aberrant activity in the medial prefrontal cortex area for negative self-related items in depression. These results revealed several behavioral features and brain mechanisms underlying abnormal self-knowledge in depression.

Future Studies: The neural mechanism of implicit self-knowledge in MDD remains unclear. Future research should examine the importance of others' attitudes on the self-concept of individuals with MDD, and whether abnormal self-views may be modified through cognitive or pharmacological approaches. In addition, differences in abnormal self-knowledge due to genetic variation between depressed and non-depressed populations remain unconfirmed. Importantly, it remains unknown whether abnormal self-knowledge could be used as a specific marker to distinguish healthy individuals from those with MDD.

Conclusion: This review extends our understanding of the relationship between self-knowledge and depression by indicating several abnormalities among individuals with MDD and those who are at risk for this illness.

Keywordsdepression (mental disorders)self-knowledgebehaviour disordersneurology

Free keywordsmajor depressive disorder; abnormality; behavioral abnormality; neurological abnormality

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2019

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-08-01 at 19:26