Scott, Kate M., Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Brendan P.
Mood congruent priming in sub-clinical depression
Cognitive Therapy and Research, 25, (5), . (doi:10.1023/A:1005541701832).
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Most cognitive theories of depression (e.g., Beck, 1976; Ingram, 1984; Teasdale, 1988; Bower, 1981) assume that depressed individuals have an automatic processing bias for negative information (e.g., activation of negative material in memory). In contrast, Williams, Watts, MacLeod, and Mathews (1988) proposed that depression is associated with a negative bias in controlled, rather than automatic, memory processes. Two experiments investigated whether there is an emotion-congruent bias in automatic (implicit) memory in subclinical depression. The first used a primed lexical decision task with briefly presented, masked primes (prime-target stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA, of 56 msec), including both repetition priming and semantic priming conditions. A depression-congruent priming bias was demonstrated in the semantic condition only. The second experiment examined the time course of the depression-congruent semantic priming bias using 56- and 2000-msec SOAs, and confirmed its occurrence in the 56-msec SOA condition. Results of both experiments are interpreted as consistent with a depression-congruent bias in automatic memory processes. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
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