Only Reduced Specificity of Negative Memories Is Associated With Reduced Goal Specificity in Depression

Korkutmaz İ., Koç T., Uzer Yıldız T.

Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, vol.12, no.4, pp.607-618, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1037/mac0000099
  • Journal Name: Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, PASCAL, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.607-618
  • Keywords: memory specificity, goal specificity, overgeneral autobiographical memory, depression
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Previous research indicates that memory specificity and goal specificity are correlatedwith depression.However, existing research has not manipulated the type ofmemory (specific or general) to be retrieved, making it difficult to ascertainwhether the retrieval style for autobiographical memory causes difficulty in generating specific goals. We shortlisted 120 and 126 participants with and without depressive symptoms, respectively, randomly assigning them to four experimental conditions (specific-success, specific-failure, general-success, and generalfailure). Participants were asked to retrieve memories based on their experimental groups and produce approach goals. Recalling specific or positive general memories did not influence goal specificity for depressed and nondepressed groups. However, recalling negative general memories resulted in setting less specific goals than recalling negative specific memories among the depressed sample. The results imply that recalling negative general memories can cause depressed individuals to ruminate, making it difficult to set specific goals