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Overgeneral past and future thinking in dysphoria: the role of emotional cues and cueing methodology

Anderson, Rachel J.; Boland, Jennifer; Garner, Sarah R.


Jennifer Boland

Sarah R. Garner


Overgeneral memory, where individuals exhibit difficulties in retrieving specific episodes from autobiographical memory, has been consistently linked with emotional disorders. However, the majority of this literature has relied upon a single methodology, in which participants respond to emotional cue words with explicit instructions to retrieve/simulate specific events. Through use of sentence completion tasks the current studies explored whether overgenerality represents a habitual pattern of thinking that extends to how individuals naturally consider their personal past and future life story. In both studies, when compared with controls, dysphoric individuals evidenced overgeneral thinking style with respect to their personal past. However, overgeneral future thinking was only evident when the sentence stems included emotional words. These findings highlight the importance of investigating the overgenerality phenomenon using a variety of cueing techniques and results are discussed with reference to the previous literature exploring overgenerality and cognitive models of depression.


Anderson, R. J., Boland, J., & Garner, S. R. (2016). Overgeneral past and future thinking in dysphoria: the role of emotional cues and cueing methodology. Memory, 24(5), 708-719.

Acceptance Date Apr 24, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 14, 2015
Publication Date May 27, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Memory
Print ISSN 0965-8211
Electronic ISSN 1464-0686
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 708-719
Keywords Autobiography; Overgeneral memory; Future thinking; Depression
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:


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