The present research examined rumination-related biases in refreshing, a component process of memory updating that involves briefly thinking back to a just-activated thought or percept. In 2 studies, participants were presented with neutral words and with task-relevant (Study 1) and task-irrelevant (Study 2) emotional words. We predicted that brooding, a maladaptive subtype of rumination would be associated with biased refreshing. Compared with nonbrooders, brooders showed slowed refreshing (of emotional and neutral words) when relevant emotional words were presented. Moreover, whereas among nonbrooders only task-relevant emotional words impaired refreshing of neutral words, among brooders both relevant and irrelevant emotional words led to this impairment. These biases were not accounted for by depression, and they were specific to refreshing words rather than to perceptual processing of the words. These findings are discussed in relation to the magnitude and nature of emotional interference in rumination.
- executive processes