Modelling the Effect of Depression on Working Memory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
255 Downloads (Pure)


Individuals with depression are prone to engaging in rumination,
a process in which attention turns inwards to narrowlyfocused,
negative patterns of thought, at the cost of attending
to a task. Other core deficits associated with depression
are weaker inhibition of information that is no longer relevant,
and a negative perceptual bias. Here, we present a computational
cognitive model that uses these mechanisms to explain
performance on an n-back task in which the stimuli are faces
with different emotional expressions, and in which depressed
participants exhibit specific impairments. These impairments
are explained by assuming that depressed participants selectively
elaborate on sad items as they are removed from working
memory, and that they have a perceptual bias towards sad
faces. In this way, by specifying a mechanism by which performance
impairments come about, the model helps to provide
a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes underlying
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling
EditorsIon Juvina, Joseph Houpt, Chris Myers
Place of PublicationMadison, WI
PublisherUniversity of Wisconsin
Number of pages205
ISBN (Print)978-0-9985082-2-1
Publication statusPublished - 21-Jul-2018
EventInternational Conference on Cognitive Modeling - University of Madison, Madison, United States
Duration: 21-Jul-201825-Jul-2018


ConferenceInternational Conference on Cognitive Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • depression
  • Cognitive modeling

Cite this