Coping with depression is not an easy task. Depressed patients automatically recall negative events and information easier than positive things. We call this a negative memory bias. Training positive memory to counter this negative bias is a promising e-MentalHealth method to alleviate depression.
Researchers Leonore Bovy, Nessa Ikani, Livia van de Kraats, Martin Dresler, Indira Tendolkar and Janna Vrijsen used a new smartphone-based memory training to increase positive memory retention. During the positive training, participants were asked to recall and report the most pleasant events they recently encountered. Although participants showed a significantly stronger positive memory bias after the training, no differences were found between the active positive training and the control groups. In addition, participants reported no decrease in depressive symptoms immediately after the training compared to the control group. However, participants who benefited most from the training, also showed more resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic on the long run. Smartphones-based memory bias training may be helpful in buffering against stress. But we need more research before it can be applied to depressed patients.
The work was published online in Scientific Reports on 3 December 2022. Bovy, L., Ikani, N., van de Kraats, L. N., Dresler, M., Tendolkar, I., & Vrijsen, J. N. (2022). The effects of daily autobiographical memory training on memory bias, mood and stress resilience in dysphoric individuals. Scientific reports, 12(1), 1-11.
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