Reduction in Memory Specificity Following an Approach/Avoidance Scrambled Sentences Task Relates to Cognitive Avoidant Coping

Reduction in Memory Specificity Following an Approach/Avoidance Scrambled Sentences Task Relates... Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) refers to the tendency to retrieve less specific personal memories. According to the functional avoidance hypothesis, OGM might act as a cognitive strategy to avoid emotionally distressing details of negative memories. In the present study, we investigated the effect of an experimentally induced avoidant state on memory specificity. We primed an avoidant state in half of the participants and an approaching state in the other half by means of a Scrambled Sentences Task (SST). Memory specificity was measured before and after priming. Trait cognitive avoidant coping was assessed prior to the experiment. Analyses indicated that higher trait avoidance was significantly associated with lower memory specificity after the SST and stronger reductions in memory specificity from pre- to post-SST, irrespective of the priming condition. The latter suggests that the SST triggered high avoiders’ avoidance schema in both conditions, possibly because it was experienced as a stressor. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Psychological Record Springer Journals

Reduction in Memory Specificity Following an Approach/Avoidance Scrambled Sentences Task Relates to Cognitive Avoidant Coping

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Association of Behavior Analysis International
Subject
Psychology; Psychology, general
ISSN
0033-2933
eISSN
2163-3452
D.O.I.
10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.1.006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) refers to the tendency to retrieve less specific personal memories. According to the functional avoidance hypothesis, OGM might act as a cognitive strategy to avoid emotionally distressing details of negative memories. In the present study, we investigated the effect of an experimentally induced avoidant state on memory specificity. We primed an avoidant state in half of the participants and an approaching state in the other half by means of a Scrambled Sentences Task (SST). Memory specificity was measured before and after priming. Trait cognitive avoidant coping was assessed prior to the experiment. Analyses indicated that higher trait avoidance was significantly associated with lower memory specificity after the SST and stronger reductions in memory specificity from pre- to post-SST, irrespective of the priming condition. The latter suggests that the SST triggered high avoiders’ avoidance schema in both conditions, possibly because it was experienced as a stressor.

Journal

The Psychological RecordSpringer Journals

Published: May 23, 2017

References

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