“What has been is what will be”? Autobiographical memory and prediction of future events in depression

Reuma Gadassi Polack, Tanya B. Tran, Jutta Joormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Depression is associated with negative autobiographical thinking regarding the past and the future. The association between the two temporal dimensions, however, has not been examined. In the present study, 32 participants diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and 32 controls completed a cued-recall task. Participants rated memories for positivity, frequency of occurrence to themselves/others, and expected recurrence, and listed planned social events and expected participation and enjoyment of these events. Memories of individuals diagnosed with MDD (vs. controls) were rated as more negative by both participants and objective coders. Individuals diagnosed with MDD were more negative in their evaluation of past events and in future expectations compared to controls. For both groups, expected recurrence of positive past events was associated with the frequency of these events occurring to oneself. For individuals diagnosed with MDD, however, expected recurrence of negative past events was associated exclusively with the frequency of these events occurring to self and not to others. Expectations for past events’ recurrence predicted increased expected participation and enjoyment from social events in both groups. These results suggest that memory in MDD is associated with more negative future expectations, which may affect mood and motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1051
Number of pages8
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • autobiographical memory
  • Depression
  • mental time travel
  • prospection

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