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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;50:289-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.10.005. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Mood repair in healthy individuals: Both processing mode and imagery content matter.

Author information

1
Biological and Personality Psychology, University of Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address: laura.seebauer@psychologie.uni-freiburg.de.
2
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Freiburg, Germany.
3
School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
4
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Freiburg, Germany; GAIA AG, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The recall of positive autobiographical memories (mood repair) is an effective strategy for improving sad mood. In depressed individuals mood repair has shown to be most effective, if the memory was processed in a concrete (imaginable), as opposed to an abstract (verbal) processing mode. However, it is not yet clear whether this also applies to healthy subjects. Moreover we do not know whether intensity and content of an imagery stimulus influences its effectiveness. We report on two experimental studies in healthy participants.

METHODS:

Negative emotion induction was followed by mood repair via recall of positive autobiographical memories. In study I, abstract processing was compared to two concrete processing strategies (high concrete/low concrete). In study II, the content of the memories was systematically varied (social/achievement).

RESULTS:

In study I, a concrete processing resulted in better mood repair, however no differences were found between high and low concrete processing. In study II, both types of memories had comparable effects on mood repair but promoted different emotions.

LIMITATIONS:

Only a young, healthy, predominantly female population was investigated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adopting a concrete processing mode when recalling positive memories leads to better mood repair in healthy participants. Moreover, the content of the memory determines the corresponding emotions.

KEYWORDS:

Autobiographic memories; Emotion regulation; Healthy participants; Imagery techniques; Positive emotions

PMID:
26530327
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.10.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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