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Title: An Investigation of the links between depression and hippocampal-based allocentric spatial memory
Author: Wong, Y.
Awarding Body: UCL
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Depression is commonly associated with cognitive impairment such as deficits in aspects of declarative memory. These functional deficits converge with findings from neuroimaging and neurobiological studies that demonstrate structural changes in the fronto-limbic and the medial temporal brain regions. This thesis aimed to extend our understanding of the cognitive correlates of depression and investigate the presence of hippocampal underfunctioning in chronic depression. Part one of this thesis is a literature review that looked at the relations between depression/depression history, executive functioning (EF), and autobiographical memory specificity (AMS). It sought to understand how depressed mood/depression history and EF are linked to the overgeneral autobiographical memory phenomenon. A systematic search identified 17 studies (in 12 papers) that assessed the three aforementioned variables, in which EF was either manipulated or measured with established neuropsychological assessment tools. Part two of the thesis addressed the links between hippocampal allocentric memory and depression in individuals with chronic depression. Two computer-based spatial memory tasks were employed in this study to assess both allocentric and egocentric spatial memory abilities. Depressed participants' spatial memory scores were compared to scores of a reference healthy control group to identify indications of hippocampal dysfunction in depression. Finally, the critical appraisal in part three offered a reflection of the choice of thesis topic and the challenges of conducting the systematic literature review. It also reflected on the considerations and obstacles involved in the conception and implementation of the research. Finally, it discussed the ethical implication of conducting research with a clinically depressed population and provided additional thoughts about future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available