This work uses self-discrepancies as a unifying framework to understand the relationship between autobiographical memory specificity (AMS) and components of rumination (reflection and brooding). Rumination can be triggered by the awareness of a discrepancy between one's current state of being and one's desired state of being. Such discrepancies may partly underlie the phenomenon of reduced AMS (a.k.a. overgeneral memory), which is a phenomenon of great clinical importance especially for depression. The aim of the present studies was to experimentally investigate the impact of a self-discrepancy manipulation on AMS in a student sample (Study 1) and in a depressed sample (Study 2). Results failed to reveal a direct effect of a self-discrepancy manipulation on AMS, but in both studies, actual-ideal discrepancies interacted with the reflection component of rumination with respect to memory specificity. In the self-discrepancy condition, there was a negative association between reflection and change in AMS: Higher reflection was associated with a greater decrease in AMS from pre- to post-testing. The results of these two studies suggest that the interplay between components of rumination and self-discrepancy has an effect on memory specificity.
- Autobiographical memory
- Overgeneral memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)