Sadder and Less Accurate? False Memory for Negative Material in Depression

Jutta Joormann, Bethany A. Teachman, Ian H. Gotlib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated that induced sad mood is associated with increased accuracy of recall in certain memory tasks; the effects of clinical depression, however, are likely to be quite different. The authors used the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm to examine the impact of clinical depression on erroneous recall of neutral and/or emotional stimuli. Specifically, they presented Deese-Roediger-McDermott lists that were highly associated with negative, neutral, or positive lures and compared participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder and nondepressed control participants on the accuracy of their recall of presented material and their false recall of never-presented lures. Compared with control participants, major depressive disorder participants recalled fewer words that had been previously presented but were more likely to falsely recall negative lures; there were no differences between major depressive disorder and control participants in false recall of positive or neutral lures. These findings indicate that depression is associated with false memories of negative material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009


  • bias
  • cognition
  • depression
  • emotion
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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