Depressive thoughts limit working memory capacity in dysphoria

Nicholas A. Hubbard, Joanna L. Hutchison, Monroe Turner, Janelle Montroy, Ryan P. Bowles, Bart Rypma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dysphoria is associated with persistence of attention on mood-congruent information. Longer time attending to mood-congruent information for dysphoric individuals (DIs) detracts from goal-relevant information processing and should reduce working memory (WM) capacity. Study 1 showed that DIs and non-DIs have similar WM capacities. Study 2 embedded depressive information into a WM task. Compared to non-DIs, DIs showed significantly reduced WM capacity for goal-relevant information in this task. Study 3 replicated results from Studies 1 and 2, and further showed that DIs had a significantly greater association between processing speed and recall on the depressively modified WM task compared to non-DIs. The presence of inter-task depressive information leads to DI-related decreased WM capacity. Results suggest dysphoria-related WM capacity deficits when depressive thoughts are present. WM capacity deficits in the presence of depressive thoughts are a plausible mechanism to explain day-to-day memory and concentration difficulties associated with depressed mood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Depressed mood
  • Memory deficits
  • Processing speed
  • Working memory capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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