Training to Inhibit Negative Content Affects Memory and Rumination

  • Shimrit DachesEmail author
  • Nilly Mor
  • Paula Hertel
Original Article


Depressive rumination, the tendency to engage in repetitive self-focus in response to distress, seems to be affected by a variety of cognitive biases that in turn maintain negative emotional states. The current study examined whether the difficulty in inhibiting attention to negative information contributes to rumination and to rumination-related biases in memory. Seventy-nine ruminators underwent a 3-week computer-based training, designed to increase either inhibition of negative words or attention to them. On immediate post-training trials, as well as on 2-week follow-up tests, we found evidence for transfer of inhibition training. Training effects also occurred on session-by-session and post-training measures of state rumination, but not on a measure of trait rumination, assessed 2 weeks later. Finally, participants who were trained to inhibit negative material subsequently showed less negative bias on a memory test. These findings further establish the causal role of biased inhibition in rumination, and substantiate the view of rumination as a habit that encourages people to perceive, interpret, and remember events in a repetitive self-focused manner.


Rumination Inhibition Memory Cognitive-bias modification Depression 



The authors thank Rotem Hasson, Yuval Tal, and Erez Aival for assistance in various phases of the research. This research was supported by a grant from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF 2011267) awarded to Nilly Mor and Paula Hertel. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Shimrit Daches, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 5290002, Israel.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Shimrit Daches, Nilly Mor and Paula Hertel declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in in this study, involving human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (The University Committee for the Use of Human Subjects in Research Institutional Review Board, The Hebrew University School of Medicine) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.School of EducationHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyTrinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA

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