Rumination, Mood and Cognitive Performance


Rumination, DEFINED AS REPETITIVE, RECURRENT AND UNCONTROLLABLE THINKING, has been implicated in cognitive impairments, particularly dysexecutive function, in people with depressed mood, what is now critical is an examination of the link between rumination and cognitive impairment independent of mood. Rumination’s direct relationship to basic cognitive functions may help explain the stability of rumination, and how it predicts future episodes of depressed mood. Two experiments examined how trait and experimentally induced rumination, and negative mood relate to attention and inhibition at varying levels of cognitive load in non-depressed participants. Study 1 found trait rumination significantly predicted errors of attention when cognitive load was low or high, but not at a medium level. Trait rumination also interacted with frequency of task unrelated thoughts to predict performance. Negative mood significantly predicted errors of inhibition also when the cognitive load was low or high. Study 2 expanded on the first by including two additional measures of executive function. Results were replicated for the first study and showed a ruminative thought style predicted inhibition, reaction time and set shifting in the additional measures.

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Brinker, J. , Campisi, M. , Gibbs, L. & Izzard, R. (2013). Rumination, Mood and Cognitive Performance. Psychology, 4, 224-231. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.43A034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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