Catastrophizing, that is, anticipating that the outcome of an event will be very negative or catastrophic; overgeneralization, which happens when one assumes that the negative outcome of an experience applies to the same experience or similar experiences in the future; personalizing, which is reflected by assuming personal responsibility for negative events or the interpretation of these events as if they had a personal meaning; and finally, selective abstraction, which occurs when attention is focused specifically on the negative aspects of an experience, instead of more neutral or positive aspects of experiences.
These results, in conjunction with those of other studies with community samples (Maric, Heyne, van Widenfelt, & Westenberg, 2011), are consistent with Beck's specificity hypothesis since they suggest that selective abstraction is a cognitive error more characteristic of depression than of anxiety.
It is expected that children with high levels of anxiety, as compared to children with low levels of anxiety, will globally present more cognitive errors, and the differences between groups will be smaller for selective abstraction error.
The CNCEQ, a self-report questionnaire with 24-items, was developed to assess four types of cognitive errors derived theoretically: catastrophizing, overgeneralization, personalizing, and selective abstraction.
Also, there was a significant gender effect in three of the four cognitive errors, catastrophizing, personalizing, and selective abstraction.
This group has lower levels of the cognitive error selective abstraction compared to personalizing and overgeneralization.
Furthermore, a statistically significant gender effect in three of the cognitive errors: catastrophizing, personalizing and selective abstraction, was observed.
At the end of Chapter VIII in Stephen Crane's The Blue Hotel we see the Naturalist's selective abstraction of what we would call pessimistic characteristics: "One viewed the existence of man then as a marvel, and conceded a glamour of wonder to these lice which were caused to cling to a whirling, fire smote, ice-locked, disease-stricken, space-lost bulb.
On the accompanying diagram, I have chosen to represent the selective abstractions of the writers of Realistic fiction with an asterisk, thus
The first excerpt describes the set of selective abstractions Twain made at a youthful, optimistic, romantic phase in his life recalled retrospectively at a more mature and reflective phase of his life: