Mood-congruent memory in depression - The influence of personal relevance and emotional context

Charlotte E. Wittekind*, Kirsten Terfehr, Christian Otte, Lena Jelinek, Kim Hinkelmann, Steffen Moritz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The investigation of veridical mood-congruent memory (MCM) in major depressive disorder (MDD) has been subject of many studies, whereas mood-congruent false memory has received comparatively little attention. The present study examined the influence of valence, personal relevance and the valence of the context of the learning material on true and false MCM in 20 inpatients with MDD and 20 healthy controls. Sixty positive, negative, neutral or personally relevant nouns were either combined with a positive, negative or neutral adjective. Word pairs were presented to participants in a learning trial. In a recognition task, participants had to identify the previously studied word pairs. A MCM effect could not be found for hits. However, in exploratory analyses, word pairs containing personally relevant nouns were more rated towards old by the patient relative to the control group. Furthermore, depressed patients tended to rate items more towards old than controls when the words were presented in a negative new context. Results are in line with previous findings in depression research emphasizing the role of mood-congruent false memories for mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-613
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Context
  • Depression
  • False memory
  • Mood-congruent memory
  • Personal relevance


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