Recent research has shown that the ability to remember specific, detailed memories of positive events may protect against the onset of depression. However, this new study led by MRC CBU’s Caitlin Hitchcock and Tim Dalgleish suggests that it’s not just specific, detailed memories that are important. Rather, the ability to flexibly move between specific representations and generalised summaries of the past is also associated with clinical levels of depression. These findings suggest that we need to target a whole host of autobiographical memory skills, not just the recall of positive, specific event memories, to reduce the memory problems associated with depression.
The research team is now working on new memory-based treatments that can improve a range of memory problems, with promising effects for the treatment of depression.