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 journalArticle

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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