Selective Memory Effects in Anxiety Disorders

Colin Macleod and Andrew Mathews

in Memory and Emotion

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195158564
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848126 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

Selective Memory Effects in                         Anxiety Disorders

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines how memory might be influenced by a variety of emotional states and conditions experienced by people with anxiety disorders. It reviews research performed with people who describe themselves as generally anxious (without formal diagnosis), as well as with people who have been diagnosed as experiencing generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. In the context of research on “mood congruent” memory, one might expect that these individuals will better remember stimuli that “fit” with their anxious thoughts and beliefs. In some cases, anxious people do show evidence of anxiety-related memory bias, but these probably result from special instances of emotional interpretation of events with ambiguous meaning. Under conditions less prone to interpretive ambiguity, anxious people tend not to remember in emotionally special ways.

Keywords: memory; anxiety disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; phobias; obsessive-compulsive disorder; panic disorder; anxiety; memory bias

Chapter.  14231 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.