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Title: A novel measure for the evaluation of autobiographical memory and mentalization in different social contexts
Author: Rhodes, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 3927
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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Background: The theories used to explain autobiographical memory and mentalization cite complementary mechanisms, and positive associations have been demonstrated between these functions. These cognitive operations may vary in different social contexts, dependent upon the prevailing social mentality (Gilbert, 1989, 2005). Aim: This study evaluated a new method for assessing autobiographical memory retrieval, and reflective-functioning, in response to cues consistent with different social mentalities. Methods: A sample consisting of participants with either schizophrenia-spectrum disorders or complex trauma was recruited. These populations were selected as both exhibit impairments in autobiographical memory and mentalization, and because trauma and psychosis are reciprocally and causally linked. The participants were asked to recall specific memories in response to cues reflecting compassion, threat and drive-focused social contexts, and to reflect upon the retrieval process. The specificity and latency of retrieval were measured, and the narrative coded for level of reflective functioning. Results: Retrieval was less specific in response to drive cues compared to threat cues. Drive cues were associated with longer retrieval latencies compared to threat and compassion cues. Reflective functioning was consistently poor, and did not differ following the different cues. However, consistent with previous research, reflective functioning was positively associated with retrieval specificity. Conclusions: This new method detected differential retrieval patterns in response to the three cue types. Poor retrieval of drive-cued events may reflect a paucity of competitive and motivation-based experiences to draw from, or the abstract nature of the cues. Spontaneous self-reflectivity appears to be poor in these patients, who may require greater support with this process. Specific task developments are recommended to disentangle these hypotheses, including controlling cue familiarity and imageability, and providing more instruction and encouragement for the elaboration of metacognitive responses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology