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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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67. Naturalistic Negative Recall Biases for Affective Events in Remitted Depression

Negative recall biases for affective stimuli in remitted depression have been demonstrated in experimental research. The current study naturalistically investigated recall biases for real-world affective events by comparing proximal recall of events individually with distal recall of aggregated events. Participants were undergraduate students with (n=32) or without (n=33) a history of major depressive episodes (MDEs). Proximal recall for individual affective events was measured using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) for one week. Participants completed four prompts per day regarding whether they experienced positive and negative events and the intensity of those events. At the end of the week, participants reported the number of positive and negative events they recalled recording over the week and the average intensity of those events (i.e., aggregated distal recall). Both individuals with and without an MDE history reported a greater number of negative events, but not positive events, in the distal recall compared with the proximal recall (i.e., negative recall bias). This was not found for event intensity. Further research should investigate whether this type of negative recall bias is stronger in current depression and whether it is characteristic of emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) by comparing different developmental periods.

Orly Lipsitz
Queen's University

Howard Berenbaum
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Philip Chow
Universty of Virginia

Luis Flores
Queen's University


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