Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 149–160 | Cite as

Differential Effects of Rumination and Dysphoria on the Inhibition of Irrelevant Emotional Material: Evidence from a Negative Priming Task

  • Jutta JoormannEmail author
Original Article


Rumination has been linked to a heightened vulnerability for the development of depression. However, it still remains unclear which cognitive processes underlie individual differences in rumination. The present study investigates whether deficits in the inhibition of irrelevant emotional stimuli in working memory are related to individual differences in ruminative responses to negative mood states and negative life events. Using the Response Style Questionnaire (RSQ), high and low scorers’ performance in a negative affective priming task in which participants were asked for self-referential judgments was evaluated. The results show significant inhibition for emotional words in the participants who scored low on the RSQ but no inhibition for emotional words in the participants who scored high on the RSQ. These group differences remained significant when controlling for current depression scores suggesting that irrespective of differences in depressive symptomatology, rumination and inhibitory dysfunctions are closely related.


Depression Rumination Inhibition Attention Memory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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