An "alternating instructions" version of the Autobiographical Memory Test for assessing autobiographical memory specificity in non-clinical populations.
There is limited research regarding how executive processes contribute to key cognitive deficits in depression, particularly impoverished retrieval of autobiographical memory. This study tested a novel version of the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT), the "Alternating Instructions" AMT (AMT-AI), to determine how participants could flexibly retrieve specific and categoric autobiographical memories. The AMT-AI consisted of a standard AMT (AMT-S), a categoric version of the AMT (AMT-R), and a section of alternating instructions (AI) in which the rules required the participant to alternate between retrieval of categoric and specific memories. A total of 49 university students completed the AMT-AI, and self-report measures of depressive symptomatology and ruminative thinking. Results showed that the mean proportion of specific memories recalled on the AMT-AI was significantly lower than on the AMT-S. Also, reduced memory specificity on the AMT-AI, but not the AMT-S, was significantly negatively correlated with increased scores on measures of depressive symptomatology and ruminative thinking. Collectively the data suggested that the AMT-AI, relative to the traditional AMT, may be more sensitive to memory specificity in non-clinical populations. Future research is warranted to further determine the psychometric properties and utility of the AMT-AI.
Dritschel, B; Beltsos, S; McClintock, SM
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