Interpretation Bias Modification Affects Autobiographical Memory

Daniel Mandelbaum*, Eyal Kalanthroff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Autobiographical memories have been found to be related to one’s current psychological state. Biases in autobiographical memories in terms of valence, content, and specificity are thought to be related to one’s well-being and mental health. Previous studies have shown that by using cognitive bias modification techniques that aim to alter one’s interpretation bias, memory valence bias could also be altered. The goal of the current study was to investigate if these techniques can also alter overgenerality of autobiographical memory, a phenomenon strongly associated with different psychopathologies. We hypothesized that creating a positive interpretation would decrease overgenerality of autobiographical memories while a negative interpretation bias would increase overgenerality. Methods: Sixty participants were recruited and divided into two groups, positive vs. negative imagery Cognitive Bias Modification (i-CBM). Both groups completed an Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) before and after undergoing one i-CBM session (positive or negative). Results: positive i-CBM reduced overgenerality of autobiographical memories, while negative i-CBM increased it. Conclusions: These results suggest that changing one’s cognitive interpretation bias also changes one’s memory bias. Thus, the same task that reduces negative bias from autobiographical memories also reduces overgenerality of autobiographical memories. In addition, the results strengthen the suggestion that the use of imagery and the ability to generate specific autobiographical memories are related. These findings hold great potential for our understanding of the interconnection between the different cognitive memory biases that lay at the base of several psychopathologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.

Keywords

  • Cognitive bias Modification
  • Interpretation bias
  • Memory Specificity
  • Overgeneral Autobiographical Memory

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