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Durham e-Theses
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Selective memory effects in neurotic patients: an experimental investigation

Giannoutsos, Evangelos (1988) Selective memory effects in neurotic patients: an experimental investigation. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Beck and Rush (1978) have proposed that depressives possess a negative self-schema. This led to Derry and Kuiper (1981) finding that depressives' incidental recall patterns reveal a clear preference for depressed content. Beck has also proposed that a negative self-schema is present in anxious individuals also. This study was designed to determine if these proposals hold true for clinically depressed out-patients, clinically anxious out-patients and clinically agoraphobic out-patients, compared with controls. In the first experiment, a cognitive task was used involving free recall of three 20 item word lists, the first consisting of 10 depression and 10 neutral words, the second of 10 anxiety and 10 neutral words, the third of 10 agoraphobia and 10 neutral words. They were presented in 4 trials each. The results showed that all groups - including controls - had a similar pattern of recall on the anxiety list; agoraphobics, anxious and controls had a similar pattern of recall on the agoraphobia list and depressives and controls a similar pattern of recall on the depression list. Anxiety subjects were less likely to recall the depression list and the most experimental words were clustered on the anxiety list. However, only in clustering scores, on trial one, both groups (subjects including controls and subjects without controls) showed greater clustering overall. It was concluded that clinically depressed out-patients do not possess a stable negative self-schema and that clinically anxious and agoraphobia out-patients do not possess a stable self-schema though agoraphobics seem to be, in a way, drawn to agoraphobic items and recall these better than depression, anxiety and neutral items. The second experiment tested the view that anxious patients would show superior recall for and subjective organisation of personal adjectives with an anxious content, a depressed content or a combined anxious and depressed content ("both"). Three adjective lists containing ten of one type of emotional adjectives and ten neutral adjectives were used. Patients' memory for each list was tested in a free recall paradigm over two trials. A self-rating (describes you?) task was then carried out on all the adjectives. Superior recall was shown for anxious, depressed and "both" content self-reference adjectives - especially for anxious - compared to neutral content adjectives (of Derry and Kuiper, 1981).Superior subjective organisation was only shown for depressed and "both" content adjectives compared to neutral adjectives. Results were discussed in terms of a fairly weak self-schema (Beck, 1976) containing both elements of anxiety and depression, but with anxiety dominant.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:37

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