Four common psychological phenomena combine in Betsy's thought process. They do this in a way that might lead her to falsely conclude that she will definitely be a victim of a severe depressive disorder.
The availability heuristic predisposes Betsy to imagine being the victim of a severe depressive disorder because she has witnessed the trials and severity of her brother's battle with depression.
Here, too, Betsy is ripe for succumbing to the availability heuristic on the easily remembered situation of her brother, and the recent data coming from her parents.
Framing contributes to Betsy's anxiety because of the natural tendency of children to believe parents. "Framing is a process of selective control over media content or public communication"(Wikipedia.org, 2006). Probably without realizing it, Betsy's parents have exerted "selective control over media content" by not researching the facts further, thereby leaving Betsy with only two assumed facts; one, her brother suffers from severe depression; and two, there is a 40 percent chance she will also suffer from depression. The parents comment constitutes a "frame" that easily calls to mind the common mis-perception that depressive diseases are hereditary. When in fact, the list of causes determining depressive disorders is lengthy and complicated.
Confirmation bias will add to Betsy's depressing conclusions because it is "a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or under-weigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypoth ...