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.
Nicholas A. Hubbard and his colleagues carried out
three studies to test both working memory and
Study 1 was a recall task with 'neutral'
interference and showed that DIs and non-DIs have
similar WM capacities.
Study 2 was a variation of the first with
'depressive' interference in the form of negative
statements about mood 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
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.
For more information
Nicholas A. Hubbard, Joanna L. Hutchison, Monroe
Turner, Janelle Montroy, Ryan P. Bowles, Bart Rypma.
Depressive thoughts limit working memory capacity in
dysphoria. Cognition and Emotion, 2015; 1 DOI: