Episodic autobiographical memory in depression: Specificity, autonoetic consciousness, and self-perspective

Consciousness and Cognition 15 (2):258-268 (2006)
Autobiographical memory and the self are closely linked. AM retrieval in depression is characterized by a lack of specificity, suggesting an impairment of episodic AM. Autonoetic consciousness and self-perspective, which are critical to episodic AM, have never been addressed in depression. Twenty-one depressed inpatients and 21 matched controls were given an episodic AM task designed to assess positive and negative memories regarding specificity, autonoetic consciousness , and self-perspective . For specificity, “remember”, and “field” responses, ANOVAs revealed a main group effect and a group × valence interaction. Between groups, patients showed lower scores than controls for positive memories. Within groups, patients showed greater scores for negative memories, and controls showed greater scores for positive memories. There is a global episodic AM impairment of positive memories in depression regarding specificity, autonoetic consciousness, and self-perspective. Our results suggest new cognitive interventions to improve the self-relevance of positive memories in depression
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