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The present study explored the relation between overgeneral autobiographical memory (AM) and other aspects of memory functioning in depression. A total of 26 patients with major depressive disorder completed a set of memory tasks measuring AM specificity (AMT; Williams & Broadbent, 1986), working memory, semantic memory, verbal learning, delayed verbal recall, recognition memory, and source memory. Reduced specificity of AM was related to poor working memory (central executive functioning) and poor source memory. The former finding conforms to the idea that the voluntary retrieval of specific autobiographical memories (AMs) involves central executive processes (e.g., Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). The latter finding replicates and extends recent findings suggesting that overgeneral AM is part of a broader memory deficit in retrieving the specific details of the context in which information was acquired (Ramponi, Barnard, & Nimmo-Smith, 2004). Furthermore, in line with Ramponi et al. (2004), rumination was found to be related to both overgeneral AM and poor source memory.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





584 - 594


Adult, Cognition, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Humans, Language Tests, Male, Memory Disorders, Memory, Short-Term, Mental Recall, Middle Aged, Models, Psychological, Psychological Tests, Recognition (Psychology), Verbal Learning