Memory for emotional faces in major depression following judgement of physical facial characteristics at encoding


The aim of the present study was to establish if patients with major depression (MD) exhibit a memory bias for sad faces, relative to happy and neutral, when the affective element of the faces is not explicitly processed at encoding. To this end, 16 psychiatric out-patients with MD and 18 healthy, never-depressed controls (HC) were presented with a series of emotional faces and were required to identify the gender of the individuals featured in the photographs. Participants were subsequently given a recognition memory test for these faces. At encoding, patients with MD exhibited a non-significant tendency towards slower gender identification (GI) times, relative to HC, for happy faces. However, the GI times of the two groups did not differ for sad or neutral faces. At memory testing, patients with MD did not exhibit the expected memory bias for sad faces. Similarly, HC did not demonstrate enhanced memory for happy faces. Overall, patients with MD were impaired in their memory for the faces relative to the HC. The current findings are consistent with the proposal that mood-congruent memory biases are contingent upon explicit processing of the emotional element of the to-be-remembered material at encoding.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an article published in Ridout, N, Dritschel, B, Matthews, K, McVicar, M, Reid, IC & O'Carroll, RE 2009, 'Memory for emotional faces in major depression following judgement of physical facial characteristics at encoding', Cognition and emotion, vol 23, no. 4, pp. 739-752. Cognition and Emotion is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Publication ISSN: 1464-0600
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 07:07
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 12:57
Full Text Link: http://www.tand ... sue=4&spage=739
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2009
Published Online Date: 2009-05-12
Authors: Ridout, Nathan (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7111-2996)
Dritschel, Barbara
Matthews, Keith
McVicar, Maureen
Reid, Ian C.
O'Carroll, Ronan E.



Version: Accepted Version

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