A Transient Autobiographical Memory Enhancement (TAME) induction to improve everyday cognitive skills.

Although periods of low mood are a normal part of life, persistence of these feelings can become problematic. When we feel down there can be alterations in the way we use our memory and increased difficulties with every day cognitive skills including problem solving.

The purpose of this research is to develop an intervention to optimise retrieval from autobiographical memory and to enhance the efficacy of daily cognitive skills that rely on autobiographical memory. The autobiographical memory store includes both memories for specific individual experiences (e.g., my first day at my current job) and generalisations we extract from those experiences (e.g., going to work every day).

We continuously update our self-identity and beliefs using autobiographical memory and is an integral source underlying daily functioning skills which ensure and promote mental wellbeing, including problem solving, cognitive reappraisal, imagining future events, and making accurate judgements about the self, world, and others. Disruptions within the autobiographical memory store therefore has a negative impact on these skills which unsurprisingly predicts the onset and maintenance of low mood.

Retrieval of positive, specific events is a key emotion regulation technique. When mood is low and autobiographical memory retrieval becomes stuck, the ability to recall specific, single episode memories becomes impaired and negatively impacts everyday cognitive skills,  and cause low mood to persist.

 The Intervention

We aim to develop a temporary memory induction technique that can be used to reinitiate a specific memory retrieval style. We are examining whether a short-term induction technique, which involves watching a video and answering some questions, may help to improve those memory and cognitive difficulties.

The intervention aims to increase specific recall and significantly improve performance on problem solving and cognitive-reappraisal tasks, along with the ability to imagine future events. An exciting application of this experimental work is to explore whether this type of induction could be used to correct, in the short-term, the impaired retrieval of specific memories, and subsequent impairment in daily cognitive skills, that is observed when mood is low.

If you require more information, please contact:

Dr Caitlin Hitchcock

Tel: 01223 273744

Email: caitlin.hitchcock@mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk

Forvie Site, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, CB2 0QQ

Tel:01223 355294
DL:01223 273779

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