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Title: The role of autobiographical memory in social problem-solving
Author: Goddard, Lorna
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 2771
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis presents five studies which examine the role of autobiographical memory in social problem-solving. All studies examined social problem-solving ability with the Means-End Problem-Solving (MEPS; J. J. Platt & G. Spivack, 1975) task, during which participants were required to attend to the memories retrieved during solution generation. Memories were categorized according to whether they were specific, categoric or extended. Studies 1 and 2 examined MEPS performance and cueing task performance in non-clinically and clinically depressed groups respectively. The results supported the general hypothesis that social problem-solving skill is a function of autobiographical memory retrieval as measured by the cueing task and by the types of memories retrieved during the MEPS. Study 1 highlighted the role of specific memories in successful problem-solving while Study 2 showed a more prominent relationship between categoric retrieval and poor problemsolving. Studies 3&4 examined the role of the central executive in memory and problem-solving by manipulating resource availability using a- dual task paradigm. Results indicated that the central executive may play a role in social problem-solving. As regards autobiographical memory retrieval, the role of the central executive appeared to be differentially involved in the cueing task and during the MEPS since a greater cognitive load was required to disrupt performance on the cueing task. Studies 3&4 also suggested gender differences in the use of autobiographical memory during problem-solving with females more reliant on a specific memory database and detailed problem-solving style. Finally Study 5 aimed to improve social problemsolving skills in a clinically depressed group by encouraging specific retrieval during the MEPS. The results showed the retrieval manipulation to be successful although this did not have any apparent effect on MEPS performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Depression; Cognitive processes; Gender