Colin Fisher’s Depressive Realism by Carmen Mowrey

Depressive realism is described as a tendency for a slightly depressed individual to make accurate judgements about themselves instead of implementing self-serving biases usually used to protect one’s ego. In the book Shelley Taylor explains this principle by stating: “…Normal people describe themselves primarily positively. Depressed people describe both their positive and negative qualities… Normal people take credit for successful outcomes and tend to deny responsibility for failure. Depressed people accept responsibility for both success and failure…” Given the previous explanation, it appears that mildly depressed people have a more realistic view on life, giving truth to the term “sadder but wiser”.

A picture of Colin Fisher:

For my example, I wanted to examine Colin Fisher. Colin Fisher is one of the multiple interns on the television show “Bones” who examines the bones of the deceased to determine their cause of death. He differs from the other interns because he brings a darker, pessimistic view to the Jeffersonian (where they all work). I was not able to find a clip of Mr. Fisher in action, but to give an example of his attitude, I found a few quotes online.

Colin Fisher:  “All friendships are fleeting and ends in abandonment. So why not spend a few hours with you guys until it falls apart.”

Colin Fisher: [to the remains] “Don’t look at me that way, dude. You don’t know how good you got it.”

Although one may think that Fisher’s depression would prohibit him from doing his job accurately, it actually helps him. Instead of being caught in any self-serving judgements where if he makes a wrong prediction on the cause of death, he recognizes his mistake and moves on to try to form another hypothesis. In the occupation of a forensic anthropologist, a depressive realist may be a valuable resource, although they may be depressing at times as we see in some Bones episodes where Fisher’s pessimism weighs down the other scientists.


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