Figure 1810

Free and forced recall for positive and negative words in individuals high and low in depression. Based on data in Murray et al. (1999).

Williams et al. (1997, pp. 285-288) reviewed the relevant studies, and came to the following conclusions:

Out of nine studies using indirect [implicit] tests of memory in anxious subjects or patients, seven have found significant bias towards negative study has yet found word congruent bias in implicit memory in depression. all published studies appear to find explicit memory biases in depression, yet only a third of the studies on trait anxiety or GAD [generalised anxiety disorder] find explicit memory biases.

More recently, it has proved hard to replicate the finding of an implicit memory bias in anxiety. For example, Richards et al. (1999, p. 67) reported three experiments on implicit memory, and came to the following conclusion: "None of the experiments offered any support for the prediction of a threat-related implicit memory bias in high-trait anxiety."

There may also be problems in interpreting the consistent finding of an explicit memory bias in depression (see Burt, Zembar, & Niederehe, 1995, for a review). Murray, Whitehouse, and Alloy (1999) showed that the typical explicit memory bias in depression disappeared in certain conditions. They asked high and low scorers on Beck's Depression Inventory to perform a self-referential task ("Describes you?") on a series of positive and negative words. Then the participantsprovided free recall or forced recall, in which theywere required to write down a large number ofwords. There was the usual explicit memory biasin depression with free recall, but no bias at allwith forced recall (see Figure 18.10). What do these findings mean? According to Murray et al. (1999, p. 175), they "implicate an important contribution of diminished motivation and/or conservative report criterion in the manifestation of depression-related biases and deficits in recall."


The effects of anxiety on attention and perception have been studied in normal and clinical populations. Among normal individuals, those high and low in anxiety have been identified on questionnaires measuring

Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.

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