Comparison of Self-Reference Effect on Affective Working Memory in Depressed and Non-Depressed Women



Introduction: The purpose of present study was to investigate and compare self-reference effect on affective working memory in depressed and non-depressed women.
Method: Twenty seven patients with major depressive disorder according to DSM-IV criteria were matched by age with 27 normal controls using convenience sampling method. Data collected by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the n-back task. Accuracy rate were analyzed using analysis of covariance and paired sample t-test.
Results: Paired samples t-test indicated that depressed individuals respond to self-referential stimuli better than other-referential stimuli (t= -2/65, p< 0/01). The results of analysis of covariance controlling for age and years of education showed no difference between groups in self-reference effect (F= 1/53, p>0/05).
Conclusion: Depressed women same as non-depressed women identify and categorize self-referential stimuli better than other-referential stimuli. These findings may be due to promoted elaboration and better organization of information in processing self-relevant information. Also similarity of two groups in self-reference effect is in line with Williams’s model which proposed that depressed persons are not characterized by biases in early processing.