Spontaneous Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories in Individuals Experiencing Depression
Sakka, L. S., & Saarikallio, S. (2020). Spontaneous Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories in Individuals Experiencing Depression. Music and Science, 3, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2059204320960575
Published inMusic and Science
© The Author(s) 2020
Listening to music often triggers strong memories of events from our past, which influence how we affectively experience music listening and can therefore contribute to music’s therapeutic capacity. The aim of this study was to examine the valence and content of spontaneous music-evoked autobiographical memories (MEAMs) in listeners with self-reported depression, who typically demonstrate negatively biased autobiographical memory. Eighteen depressed and 21 controls participated in a music-listening experiment where they listened to a personalized music stimulus, described their memories, and thereafter rated the valence of these memories and of their induced affect. Participants’ ratings were statistically analysed, while the memory content was analysed with the use of a computerized text-analysis method and with a qualitative thematic analysis. Quantitative ratings of valence revealed a significant difference between groups: half of the depressed, compared to none of the controls, recalled a negative memory, and these were experienced with negative induced affect. The qualitative thematic analysis of the memory descriptions revealed that both depressed and control participants’ memories could be categorized into three first-level themes: (1) personal, (2) relationships, and (3) activities. Depressed participants’ negative memories were mainly located in the ‘relationships’ theme and included memories about loss and dysfunctional relationships, such as bullying, and in the ‘personal’ theme, including memories of mental health struggles and coping with music. Approximately a third of depressed participants recalled positive memories, and these were either related to loving family relationships or to activities. Limitations concerning the small sample size and implications regarding the function of music listening for depressed individuals are discussed. ...
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leader Fellowship fund.
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