Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How depression blurs memories

Date:
October 3, 2013
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they've had -- such as where they parked their car today.

To pinpoint why depression messes with memory, researchers took a page from Sesame Street's book.

Related Articles


The show's popular game "One of these things is not like the others" helps young viewers learn to differentiate things that are similar -- a process known as "pattern separation."

A new Brigham Young University study concludes that this same skill fades in adults in proportion to the severity of their symptoms of depression. The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they've had.

If you've ever forgotten where you parked the car, you know the feeling (though it doesn't mean you have depression).

"That's really the novel aspect of this study -- that we are looking at a very specific aspect of memory," said Brock Kirwan, a psychology and neuroscience professor at BYU.

Depression has been generally linked to poor memory for a long time. To find out why, Kirwan and his former grad student D.J. Shelton put people through a computer-aided memory test. The participants viewed a series of objects on the screen. For each one, they responded whether they had seen the object before on the test (old), seen something like it (similar), or not seen anything like it (new).

With old and new items, participants with depression did just fine. They often got it wrong, however, when looking at objects that were similar to something they had seen previously. The most common incorrect answer was that they had seen the object before.

"They don't have amnesia," Kirwan said. "They are just missing the details."

This can be a challenge in a number of everyday situations, such as trying to remember which friends and family members you've told about something personal -- and which ones are still in the dark.

The findings also give an important clue about what is happening in the brain that might explain this.

"There are two areas in your brain where you grow new brain cells," Kirwan said. "One is the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. It turns out that this growth is decreased in cases of depression."

Because of this study, we know a little more about what these new brain cells are for: helping us see and remember new experiences. The study appears in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Don J. Shelton, C. Brock Kirwan. A possible negative influence of depression on the ability to overcome memory interference. Behavioural Brain Research, 2013; 256: 20 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.08.016

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "How depression blurs memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132237.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2013, October 3). How depression blurs memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132237.htm
Brigham Young University. "How depression blurs memories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132237.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins