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Memory study a step toward better helping those with depression

Depression can really take over a person's life. For some, getting out of bed in the morning can be one of the most challenging tasks of the day. For others, their depression can leave them unable to function to their full capacity in the workplace. 

Recently, a study looked at the connection between depression and memory, specifically pattern separation. For the study, a group of undergraduates participated in a game to test whether or not they had seen certain objects before. These undergraduates were in a psychology class and were involved to earn course credit. 

In this game, undergraduate students had to decide whether they had seen an object before or if it was merely similar to an object they previously saw. 


According to the university study, everyone could tell which objects they were seeing for the first time. However, those with depression had a harder time sorting out those objects that were new, but looked similar to objects they already saw. 

Brock Kirwan, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience who was involved in the study, said the more depressed a person was, the harder it was to distinguish between old objects and objects that looked similar to previous objects, but were different. 

Studies looking into the connection between depression and memory are also nothing new. In fact, going back to 1995 the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin found a connection between depression and memory issues. However, it was stated the connection was most likely related to certain aspects of memory.

Looking to the future, the hope is this recent study is the first step toward figuring out what is going on and how to better treat those with depression. 

Source: Desert News, "BYU study shows how depression blurs memory," Lois M. Collins, Oct. 9, 2013

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