Portsmouth university study looks at depression and the past

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NEW research has found people with depression project a bleak outlook on past events, rather than glorifying them.

Studies had previously shown depression makes sufferers see the present and the future as sad, but this is the first time research has shown it also affects people’s memories of the past.

Psychologists at the University of Portsmouth and Germany’s Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf published their research in Clinical Psychological Science.

Dr Hartmut Blank, from Portsmouth’s department of psychology, said: ‘Depression is not only associated with a negative view of the world, the self and the future, but we now know with a negative view of the past.’

The researchers tested students, about half of whom had mild to severe depression.

They were asked to imagine themselves in a variety of everyday scenarios with positive or negative outcomes. For each scenario the researchers collected measures of hindsight bias (foreseeability, inevitability and distorted memory for initial expectations).