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J Abnorm Psychol. 1996 Feb;105(1):34-41.

Unconscious mood-congruent memory bias in depression.

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Department of Psychology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney 99004, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate an unconscious or implicit mood-congruent memory (MCM) bias in clinical depression. Many studies have shown an explicit memory bias, but no study has yet found an implicit MCM bias in clinical depression. The authors compared depressed and control group participants on a conceptually driven implicit memory test. After studying words of positive, neutral, and negative affective valences, participants produced free associations to various cues. Implicit memory or priming was demonstrated by the production of more studied than unstudied words to the association cues. Depressed participants showed more priming of negative words, whereas controls showed more priming of positive words, thus supporting the MCM pattern. Also, no implicit memory deficit was found in depressed participants. These findings are discussed in the context of several prominent theories of cognition and depression.

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