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The effect of dysphoria on the relationship between autobiographical memories and the self

Grace, Lydia; Dewhurst, Stephen A.; Anderson, Rachel J.


Lydia Grace

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Dr Rachel Anderson
Reader/Programme Director Psychology PG Research (PhD, MSc by Research, MRes)


Two experiments investigated the bi-directional relationship between episodic autobiographical memories (ABMs) and semantic self-images in dysphoric and nondysphoric individuals. Participants in Experiment 1 generated positive and negative “I am” statements, which were then used to cue specific ABMs. Nondysphoric participants generated similar numbers of ABMs to positive and negative cues, suggesting both positive and negative self-images are supported by clusters of specific ABMs. The same was observed in dysphoric participants, but phenomenological ratings showed that they rated positive ABMs as less vivid, and negative ABMs more central to their life story, than the nondysphoric group. Participants in Experiment 2 retrieved positive or negative ABMs and then generated “I am” self-statements. Retrieving positive ABMs increased the positivity of self-statements in the nondysphoric but not the dysphoric group. These findings suggest the interaction between ABMs and self-images functions to promote a positive view of the self, but this is disrupted in dysphoria.


Grace, L., Dewhurst, S. A., & Anderson, R. J. (in press). The effect of dysphoria on the relationship between autobiographical memories and the self. Cognition and Emotion,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 24, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 2, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Cognition and Emotion
Print ISSN 0269-9931
Electronic ISSN 1464-0600
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Autobiographical memory; Self-images; Positivity bias; Self-enhancement; Dysphoria
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Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: <a style="text-decoration: underline;" href=";" target="_blank">;</a> Received: 2020-03-04; Revised: 2020-07-15; Accepted: 2020-07-24; Published: 2020-08-02


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