A depressed mood can reduce memory, latest research shows.
In a study published in Cognition and Emotion, researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas have identified a 12% reduction in memory when people were in a depressed mood.
"The results suggest that individuals with and without depressed mood generally have a similar ability to actively remember information. However, when depressive thoughts are present, people with depressed mood are unable to remove their attention from this information, leading to deficits in their memory," lead author of the study Nicholas Hubbard from the Center for BrainHealth, said in a news release.
Hubbard and colleagues based their study on 157 undergraduate students. Prevalence of depressive mood was determined through a computer-based depression inventory. Of the total, 60 students were qualified to be included in the depressive mood category.
Participants gave tests on working memory and also answered a couple of questions, which were related to both neutral and depressive information.
The neutral part included questions like: "Most people agree that Monday is the worst day of the week" and the depressive part concentrated on questions like "I am sad" and "People don't like me."
At the end of each question, they were asked to remember a series of numbers.
The participants in the depressive mood failed to recollect all the numbers related to negative information than when the sentence contained neutral information.
Researchers expected that their study will help improve lives of people affected with depression. "Understanding and accurately diagnosing memory loss in depression is paramount for developing an effective therapeutic approach," Hubbard said. "Our findings implicate that therapeutic approaches such as teaching one to recognize and inhibit depressive thoughts could be a key aspect to treating cognitive deficits in depression."
Depression strikes a person when exposure to extreme stress or hormonal changes leads to certain chemical changes in his or her brain.
Nearly 350 million people in the world are estimated to be affected with this mental condition.