The effects of imagery on problem-solving ability and autobiographical memory

Ashley A. Dennis, Arlene Astell, Barbara Dritschel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Williams et al. (2006) found that increased imageability of cue words during an autobiographical memory task increased specificity of autobiographical memory (ABM) and improved subsequent social problem-solving (SPS). This study explored whether imagery during SPS improved SPS skill, perceived SPS ability, and the specificity of ABMs retrieved in the process of SPS in dysphoric students. Additionally, this study hypothesised that both memory specificity and perceived SPS ability would positively correlate with SPS skill. Dysphoric and non-dysphoric students solved hypothetical social problems on a modified version of the Means-End Problem-Solving task with a verbal or an imagery focus. Participants also completed a questionnaire about ABMs retrieved during SPS and rated their perceived effectiveness of their solutions. Contrary to Williams et al. (2006), the imagery focus did not improve SPS skill or influence perceived effectiveness. Additionally, in contrast to the hypothesis, the imagery group retrieved more overgeneral memories. Finally, ABM specificity did not correlate with SPS skill. However, dysphoric participants perceived specific memories to be significantly less helpful to SPS whereas non-dysphoric participants perceived specific memories to be helpful potentially supporting work on overgeneral ABM and functional avoidance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S4
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

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