A novel measure for the evaluation of autobiographical memory and mentalization in different social contexts

Rhodes, Emma (2013) A novel measure for the evaluation of autobiographical memory and mentalization in different social contexts. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: autobiographical memory, mentalization, reflective functioning, social mentalities
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: McLeod, Dr. Hamish and Gumley, Prof. Andrew
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Miss Emma Rhodes
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4621
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2013 13:36
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2013 13:38
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4621

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