CHFA | Psychology Department Showcase: Projects In-Process

Title

A glass half empty: Assessing the role of mood-induction in working memory performance

Presenter Information

Tyler RobinsonFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

Minor

History

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Gage Jordan, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

A robust clinical sub-literature suggests that an individual’s inability to disengage from negative stimuli impacts capabilities such as problem-solving and imagining future positive events (e.g., Dalgleish et al., 2001; Raes et al., 2005). Additionally, attributional errors (i.e., erroneous, casual, and intuitive judgments about ourselves, others, or the world) are also significantly influenced by one’s internal-state (e.g., cognitive processes; Kahneman, 2011) with empirical research also suggesting that clinically and sub-clinically depressed specifically persons often do not engage in self-serving biases (i.e., biases designed to internalize success and externalize failure) outside of their most confident domain (Morris, 2007). Therefore, there is a gap in the literature that provides direction as to how attributional errors play a role in influencing disengagement from valenced stimuli. Thus, this study seeks to examine potential underlying interconnectedness among cognitive processes (i.e., working-memory) and attributional thought processes.

The current study will examine how mood-inductions may affect working memory performance on the n-back task, attributional errors, and self-serving biases. This version of the n-back task asks participants to determine whether the emotional content of a face presented (i.e., sad, happy, or neutral) matches the emotional content of a face presented two times prior. Recruited participants will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: either a) a positive, b) neutral, or c) negative mood induction conditions. Participants will then complete the n-back task. Next, participants will complete questionnaires, including measures assessing attributional errors and self-serving biases. It is predicted that individuals in the negative mood-induction conditions will take significantly longer to disengage from negative stimuli on the n-back task compared to the individuals in the positive or neutral mood inductions condition. It is also expected that individuals in the negative mood-induction condition will report decreased rates of the self-serving bias compared to the individuals in the positive or neutral mood-induction condition. This study has been approved by the IRB at the authors’ institution, and data collection is expected to be completed by May 2022.

The significance of the current study is rooted in its ability to add to our current understanding of cognitive and clinical science. That is, by utilizing mood inductions and examining the relationship between WM capacity and the aforementioned affective variables (namely, attributional errors), this research hopes to provide generalizable findings that may better explain the nature of depressogenic thoughts, as well as the factors that contribute to cognitive biases and difficulties disengaging from negative stimuli.

Keywords: depression, working-memory, attributional styles, mood-inductions, cognitive biases

Location

Waterfield Gallery

Start Date

November 2021

End Date

November 2021

Fall Scholars Week 2021 Event

Psychology: Projects In-Progress

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Nov 16th, 9:30 AM Nov 16th, 12:30 PM

A glass half empty: Assessing the role of mood-induction in working memory performance

Waterfield Gallery

A robust clinical sub-literature suggests that an individual’s inability to disengage from negative stimuli impacts capabilities such as problem-solving and imagining future positive events (e.g., Dalgleish et al., 2001; Raes et al., 2005). Additionally, attributional errors (i.e., erroneous, casual, and intuitive judgments about ourselves, others, or the world) are also significantly influenced by one’s internal-state (e.g., cognitive processes; Kahneman, 2011) with empirical research also suggesting that clinically and sub-clinically depressed specifically persons often do not engage in self-serving biases (i.e., biases designed to internalize success and externalize failure) outside of their most confident domain (Morris, 2007). Therefore, there is a gap in the literature that provides direction as to how attributional errors play a role in influencing disengagement from valenced stimuli. Thus, this study seeks to examine potential underlying interconnectedness among cognitive processes (i.e., working-memory) and attributional thought processes.

The current study will examine how mood-inductions may affect working memory performance on the n-back task, attributional errors, and self-serving biases. This version of the n-back task asks participants to determine whether the emotional content of a face presented (i.e., sad, happy, or neutral) matches the emotional content of a face presented two times prior. Recruited participants will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: either a) a positive, b) neutral, or c) negative mood induction conditions. Participants will then complete the n-back task. Next, participants will complete questionnaires, including measures assessing attributional errors and self-serving biases. It is predicted that individuals in the negative mood-induction conditions will take significantly longer to disengage from negative stimuli on the n-back task compared to the individuals in the positive or neutral mood inductions condition. It is also expected that individuals in the negative mood-induction condition will report decreased rates of the self-serving bias compared to the individuals in the positive or neutral mood-induction condition. This study has been approved by the IRB at the authors’ institution, and data collection is expected to be completed by May 2022.

The significance of the current study is rooted in its ability to add to our current understanding of cognitive and clinical science. That is, by utilizing mood inductions and examining the relationship between WM capacity and the aforementioned affective variables (namely, attributional errors), this research hopes to provide generalizable findings that may better explain the nature of depressogenic thoughts, as well as the factors that contribute to cognitive biases and difficulties disengaging from negative stimuli.

Keywords: depression, working-memory, attributional styles, mood-inductions, cognitive biases