Author(s): Bradley BP, Mogg K, Williams R
The study investigated implicit and explicit memory for emotional words in 53 non-clinical Ss. The implicit memory test was a primed lexical decision task, which included anxiety- and depression-relevant words, and supraliminal and subliminal priming conditions. The explicit memory test was incidental free recall following a self-referent encoding task. Subjects were divided into high and low negative affect groups, differing in trait and state anxiety, and depression scores. The high negative affect group showed greater subliminal priming of depression-relevant than neutral control words compared with the low negative affect group. This selective priming effect was more closely associated with depression than anxiety measures. There was little direct evidence of emotion-congruent biases on the supraliminally primed lexical decision and free recall tasks, although when the effects of anxiety were partialled out depression scores predicted relatively better recall of depression-relevant words. In conclusion, the main results that non-clinical depression is associated with a mood-congruent bias in automatic aspects of implicit memory.