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04-06-2020 | Original Article

Rumination: Practicing Retrieval of Autobiographical Memories

Auteurs: Paula T. Hertel, Paola Herrera, Pallavi Shamapant

Gepubliceerd in: Cognitive Therapy and Research | Uitgave 5/2021

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Abstract

Background

People who ruminate about negative personal experiences seem to be engaged in practicing retrieval, with the expected consequences of perpetuating those very memories (see Roediger and Butler in Trends Cogn Sci 15:20–27, 2011).

Method

To provide an experimental model of the effect of retrieval practice on subsequent recall of autobiographical memories, we recruited students with low and high scores on the Ruminative Response Scale (Treynor et al. in Cogn Ther Res 27:247–259, 2003), gave them positive and ruminative cues to generate memories, and cued three rounds of practice of half of the memories from each valence.

Results

A week later, final cued recall for all memories showed strong practice effects, with the exception that ruminators benefited very little from the request to practice positive memories.

Conclusion

Recalling personal memories benefits from prior practice in bringing them to mind. However, these results provide insufficient evidence to recommend training recall of positive autobiographical memories to counteract rumination.
Voetnoten
1
There were actually two counterbalancing factors; see the “Materials” section.
 
2
Our experience suggests that undergraduate students do not show very stable scores on the RRS. Our practice in all experiments concerning rumination has always been to set aside data from individuals who do not produce a similar score at the end of the (first) experimental session—a score that keeps them within a few points of the original group designation.
 
3
There were no significant differences in the percentages of specific memories generated, according to any factor in the design, all ps > .28, all ηp2 < .02; overall M = 85.5, 95% CI [81.3, 89.9]. Out of the recalled memories on the final test, the same pattern obtained, all ps > . 47 all ηp2 < .02; overall M = 76.3, 95% CI [70.3, 82.4]. The apparent reduction likely resulted from the on-line nature of the test (i.e. no experimenter stressing specificity).
 
4
The practice effect on positive-memory recall by ruminators was marginally significant, F(1, 28) = 4.09, MSE = 343.94, p = .053, ηp2 = .13.
 
5
An additional analysis of emotion ratings that included a factor for measurement point did reveal a significant main effect for session, F(1, 51) = 7.71, MSE = 0.680, p = .008, ηp2 = .13, and a nonsignificant trend for an interaction of valence with session, F(1, 51) = 3.66, MSE = 0.893, p = .061, ηp2 = .07. On average, ratings were 0.21 points lower at delay—0.05 points lower for negative memories and 0.37 points lower for positive memories. Interpretation must take into account the confound that means were calculated across varying numbers of memories, due both to forgetting and to the uncontrolled conditions for the delayed test.
 
6
Readers might notice that ruminators and nonruminators recalled unpracticed positive and negative memories equally well. We assume that that this baseline level of recall reflects the probability that the test cues work similarly to their cuing tendency during the generation phase, as well as the similar tendencies to forget the episodic context of having produced them a week earlier.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Rumination: Practicing Retrieval of Autobiographical Memories
Auteurs
Paula T. Hertel
Paola Herrera
Pallavi Shamapant
Publicatiedatum
04-06-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Cognitive Therapy and Research / Uitgave 5/2021
Print ISSN: 0147-5916
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-2819
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-020-10118-z

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