Positive memory enhancement training for individuals with major depressive disorder

Kimberly A. Arditte Hall, Rudi De Raedt, Kiara R. Timpano, Jutta Joormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


When in a negative mood state, individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) may have difficulties recalling positive autobiographical memories in a manner that repairs that negative mood. Using cognitive bias modification techniques, investigators have successfully altered different aspects of cognition among individuals with MDD. However, little has been done to investigate the modification of positive autobiographical memory recall. This study examined the impact of a novel positive memory enhancement training (PMET) on the memories and subjective affective experiences of individuals with MDD (N = 27). Across a series of trials, participants first recalled a sad memory to elicit a negative mood state. They then recalled a happy memory and completed procedures to elicit a vivid, here-and-now quality of the memory. PMET procedures were hypothesized to promote mood repair via the recall of increasingly vivid and specific positive memories. PMET participants demonstrated improved memory specificity and greater perceived ability to “relive” positive memories. The procedures also repaired mood; PMET participants’ affect following recall of positive memories did not differ from control participants’ affect following recall of neutral memories. Results provide preliminary support for PMET as a method to improve the quality of positive memories and facilitate emotion regulation in MDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018


  • Depression
  • cognitive bias modification
  • emotion regulation
  • memory bias
  • mood repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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