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Influence of Time of Day and Mood State on Recall of Words Associated with Emotionally Charged Autobiographical Memories

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 11/01/2009
End Date 06/30/2010
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount 1,960
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 09/21/2011 10:54PM
Keywords depression


  Claudia Lampman

Student Researchers
  Earl Charles Crew


There is strong statistical support to indicate a relationship between depression and overall memory impairment; specifically, there is a tendency for depressed individuals to recall more negatively than positively charged material during periods of increased depressive symptoms (Burt, Zembar, & Niederehe, 1995). This effect is referred to as mood-congruent memory and occurs when affectively-charged information is more readily available when it is retrieved during the mood-state that matches the valence of the recalled material (Bower, 198 1). Time of day is a factor that has been previously related to cognitive impairment (Allen, Grabbe, McCarthy, Bush, & Wallace 2008), and these processes have been shown to mirror similar cognitive processes that correspond with the mood-congruence effect (Clark & Teasdale, 1982). There are some areas within the body of previous research on the mood-congruence effect in memory, however, where certain related variables have not been adequately measured to test the combined effect that may come as a result. The purpose of this study is to assess such an interaction by implicitly (Graf & Schacter, 1985) and explicitly (Bullington, 1990) measuring the influence that time of day and mood-state have on mood-congruent memory in a 2 x 2 factorial design. I hypothesize that previous research on the effects of time of day on memory impairment will be supported, that participants who are induced (Velten, 1968) into a negative or positive mood state will exhibit a mood-congruent bias in the recall of affectively charged words, and that the combined effects of time of day and mood-state will interact to create a mood-congruent effect greater than either may be able to affect independently.

Specific Aims: To use several tools of cognitive influence and measurement to gain a better understanding of the cognitive processes and external factors that contribute to major depressive disorder and its debilitating diagnostic symptomatology.
To gain valuable personal experience in developing, testing, evaluating, and presenting an original research project that will facilitate my continued professional development.

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