Increasing autobiographical memory specificity: using kindness meditation to impact features of memory retrieval

Amanda Lathan*, Barbara Dritschel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Individuals with a history of depression have an increased risk for future episodes. This risk has been linked with impaired features of autobiographical memory retrieval that remain when depressive symptoms abate, including memory specificity, remoteness, valence, and vantage perspective. Rumination has been shown to influence these impairments and can be reduced via compassion training. We therefore investigated the effects of a self-compassion meditation on autobiographical memory retrieval in remitted depression. Baseline data were collected (n = 50) using an extended version of the Autobiographical Memory Test where participants with remitted depression retrieved specific memories from a remote time period (10 cues) and from any time period (10 cues). Valence and vantage perspective were rated. Participants were then randomly allocated to a self-compassion meditation or (control) colouring intervention group. Baseline measures were reassessed after four weeks of the intervention. Results revealed increased retrieval of specific memories in the self-compassion group in comparison to the colouring group, and an increase in positive and field memories across groups while no remoteness changes were observed. This self-compassion meditation demonstrated initial promise as an intervention to influence features of autobiographical memory retrieval in remitted depression. Improvements were shown in specificity, valence, and vantage perspective. Addressing these features with this type of intervention might reduce a cognitive vulnerability to depression and should be investigated in future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0287007
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023

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