Depression increases the likelihood of cognitive deficits, including memory impairments, but the effect of depression on false memories is debated. The current study investigated whether depressive symptoms are associated with increased negative false memories because participants generalize negativity (mood-generalization), or with accurate memory for negative materials (mood-congruency). Furthermore, the previous literature has not determined whether effects of depression on memory are due to depressive symptoms per se, or co-occurring rumination, and whether working memory is susceptible to memory errors in the same way as episodic memory. Therefore, the current study differentiated rumination from core depressive symptoms on memory measures, and investigated deficits in working memory. Results indicated that the mood-congruency theory was most consistent for depression, while rumination may lead to mood-generalization. Depressive symptoms showed non-significant trends toward poor recall of studied material, fewer false memories, less false recognition of new negative material, and greater awareness of false memories. Rumination showed non-significant trends toward poor recall of studied material, greater false recognition of new negative material, and less awareness of false memories. There were no significant correlations between working memory and depressive symptoms or rumination. In conclusion, rumination may be partly responsible for driving certain memory impairments often seen in depression.
Turner, Amy, "The Effects of Depression and Rumination on False Memory" (2011). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 10.