An Examination of the Association Between Attention and Memory Processing in Depression Vulnerability
AdvisorSears, Christopher R.
Dobson, Keith S.
AuthorFernandez, Amanda Kathleen
Committee MemberMcGrath, Daniel S.
von Ranson, Kristin M.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractCognitive theories of depression propose that biases in information processing domains contribute to a vulnerability to depression. Most research has studied information processing in isolation, which has limited the understanding of how cognitive biases are associated and, most importantly, restricted the ability to adequately understand their potential collective influence on depression vulnerability. The present study used an eye-tracking task to measure attention to valenced words and incidental recognition memory paradigm to examine memory for the same valenced words in order to: 1) examine state and trait attention and memory biases in a cross-sectional sample of previously-depressed (N = 60), currently-depressed (N = 36), and never-depressed women (N = 51); 2) determine if attention biases during encoding moderate memory biases; and 3) determine if mood state impacts how attention biases moderate encoding, and subsequently memory biases. Findings support the importance of positive information processing as a potential vulnerability and resilience factor. Never-depressed women evidenced positive attention and memory biases that were also observed to cohere; however, while in a sad mood their recognition of positive words decreased and no coherence between attention and memory was observed. Blunted attention and memory for positive words was observed among the currently-depressed women, which was consistent with an anhedonic presentation. Coherence between attention and memory for positive processing was observed among the currently-depressed women. Previously-depressed women were observed to have a positive attention bias and negative memory bias; however, following the sad MI, the previously-depressed women evidenced blunted attention to positive words and a reduction in recognition of negative words. No coherence between attention and memory was observed within the previously-depressed women. Moreover, no coherence was observed for negative attention and memory biases across groups and mood conditions. The current results suggest the relationship between attention and memory are more complex than a direct linear relationship, especially during times where emotion regulation processes are likely to be activated. Theoretical implications for cognitive models of depression, study limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.
CitationFernandez, A. K. (2020). An Examination of the Association Between Attention and Memory Processing in Depression Vulnerability (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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