Remediating reduced memory specificity in bipolar disorder: A case study using a Computerized Memory Specificity Training

Kris Martens, Keisuke Takano, Tom J. Barry, Emily A. Holmes, Sabine Wyckaert, Filip Raes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Objectives: Reduced autobiographical memory specificity (rAMS) is a vulnerability factor found across unipolar depression (UD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder (BD). A group delivered psychological therapy training called Memory Specificity Training (MeST) remediates rAMS in UD and PTSD, with additional downstream effects on related psychological processes and symptoms. Its impact in BD is unknown. In this case study, we examined the impact of a computerized version of MeST (c-MeST) on improving AMS and related symptoms and processes in participant with rapid cycling type I BD. Method: An experimental case study with an ABA design was used. During baseline (14 days, Phase A), the training phase (nine sessions across 17 days, Phase B), and a 1-month follow-up (Phase A), memory specificity, depressive symptoms, and related processes and symptoms were repeatedly measured. Results: Memory specificity increased significantly after the participant completed c-MeST. Session-to-session scores indicated that AMS improved most from the in-person baseline assessment to the first online session. All other measures of processes and symptoms deteriorated during the training phase but regressed to baseline during follow-up. Conclusion: Memory specificity was improved as indicated by increased AMS from pre-intervention measurement to 1-month follow-up. Other improvements in symptoms were not observed. Rather, some related maladaptive psychological processes and symptoms worsened during the training phase and regressed to baseline during follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01468
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This work was supported by the KU Leuven Research Council grant PF/10/005. EH is grateful for support from the Swedish Research Council (2017-00957).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • autobiographical memory
  • bipolar disorder
  • Memory Specificity Training
  • reduced autobiographical memory specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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