An “alternating instructions” version of the Autobiographical Memory Test for assessing autobiographical memory specificity in non-clinical populations

Barbara Dritschel, Stamatis Beltsos, Shawn M. McClintock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is limited research regarding how executive processes contribute to key cognitive deficits in depression, particularly impoverished retrieval of autobiographical memory. This study tested a novel version of the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT), the “Alternating Instructions” AMT (AMT-AI), to determine how participants could flexibly retrieve specific and categoric autobiographical memories. The AMT-AI consisted of a standard AMT (AMT-S), a categoric version of the AMT (AMT-R), and a section of alternating instructions (AI) in which the rules required the participant to alternate between retrieval of categoric and specific memories. A total of 49 university students completed the AMT-AI, and self-report measures of depressive symptomatology and ruminative thinking. Results showed that the mean proportion of specific memories recalled on the AMT-AI was significantly lower than on the AMT-S. Also, reduced memory specificity on the AMT-AI, but not the AMT-S, was significantly negatively correlated with increased scores on measures of depressive symptomatology and ruminative thinking. Collectively the data suggested that the AMT-AI, relative to the traditional AMT, may be more sensitive to memory specificity in non-clinical populations. Future research is warranted to further determine the psychometric properties and utility of the AMT-AI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-889
Number of pages9
JournalMemory
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 5 2014

Keywords

  • Autobiographical Memory Test
  • Depression
  • Executive function
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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