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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

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology

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Psychology Commons