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The impact of ruminative and mindful modes of self-focus on prospective memory

Amisten, Hernika (2011) The impact of ruminative and mindful modes of self-focus on prospective memory. Oxford Brookes University.

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Abstract

There is a substantial body of literature documenting the susceptibility of retrospective memory to negative emotional influences. By contrast, despite the ubiquity of prospective memory (Burgess, Quayle & Frith, 2001), very little is known about how this cognitive ability to execute previously formed intentions interacts with enduring emotional states. The present study set out to investigate the impact of ruminative and mindful modes of self-focus on prospective memory. The Ruminative Response Scale (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer & Toney, 2006) were opportunistically administered to 165 healthy volunteers. Of these, 16 men and 81 women aged between 18 and 64 years (median age: 18-24 years) completed the questionnaires. Respondents scoring above one standard deviation of the respective scales were invited back for a computer-based prospective memory experiment (mindful group n=9, rumination group n=10) comprising both a time-based task and an event-based task. The results did not reveal any significant differences in prospective memory performance between the two groups. Explanations for the lack of effect are offered with reference to the Resource Allocation Model (Ellis & Ashbrook, 1988), the cognitive-initiative framework of depression (Hertel, 2000) and the Multiprocess Framework (McDaniel and Einstein, 2000).

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