College students in dysphoric or nondysphoric moods studied pairs of words and later took a fragment-completion test of memory for targets from the pairs (under process-dissociation procedures for obtaining estimates of controlled and automatic retrieval; L. L. Jacoby, 1996). Between the study and test phases, some participants waited quietly for 7 min; others rated self-focused materials designed to invoke ruminations in the dysphoric group; and still others rated self-irrelevant and task-irrelevant materials. A dysphoria-related impairment in controlled retrieval occurred in the first 2 conditions but not in the 3rd condition. These results show that the nature of task-irrelevant thoughts contributes to memory impairments in dysphoria and suggest that self-focused rumination might also contribute to similar impairments under unconstrained conditions that permit mind wandering.
American Psychological Association
Hertel, P.T. (1998). Relation between rumination and impaired memory in dysphoric moods. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107(1), 166-172. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.107.1.166
Journal of Abnormal Psychology