Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Martin, Randall B.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Depression; Mental; Mood (Psychology)


The effect of mood state on self-referent processing of mild depressives (N=42) and nondepressives (N=48) was examined. Subjects viewed a 15-minute neutral or humorous videotape, and then rated positive (nondepressed) content and negative (depressed) content adjectives, according to semantic and se1f-reference instructions. The rating task was followed by an incidental recall test for the adjectives. Problems with the data resulted in recall scores being analyzed according to two separate procedures. In the neutral condition, one type of analysis (absolute recall) provided support for the depressive self-schema; nondepressives recalled more positive than negative adjectives rated along se1f-referent instructions, while depressives recalled relatively equal levels of both types of words. Analysis of selfreferent recall by means of the second procedure (proportional recall) provided less clear support for the depressive self-schema effect on memory. Females displayed the expected pattern, while males manifested the opposite pattern. Consistent with expectations, mild depression was not associated with a diminished response to humor. Contrary to expectations, humor did alter patterns of recall of words rated according to self-referent instructions. Analysis of absolute recall scores found both depressives and nondepressives recalling more positive adjectives relative to negative words. Again, proportional analyses were inconsistent. Findings were discussed in relation to previous self-schema research. Issues and further questions regarding the use of humor experimentally and clinically were also discussed.


Bibliography: pages [89]-98.


vi, 144 pages




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