Depression has long been known to have a negative impact on memory. And now, a new study pinpoints its specific effect: It seems to make memory more blurry.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that people with depression seem to have a harder time distinguishing similar experiences, similar to a person struggling to remember where he or she parked the car.
For the study, published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research, researchers had study participants with depression and study participants without depression do a memory test, where they looked at a number of images of objects on a computer. They had to report whether they had already seen an image before (making it "old"), had never seen it before (making it "new"), or if they'd seen something similar to it.
Researchers found that people with depression did not seem to have any issues correctly reporting if an object was "new" or "old," but they did seem to have a harder time identifying similar objects, with them being more likely to misidentify "similar" objects as "old."
"They don't have amnesia. They are just missing the details," study researcher Brock Kirwan, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the university, said in a statement.
A past study, conducted by researchers at Oxford University, also showed how depression seems to specifically affect memory. The New York Times reported on the study that showed a link between depression and less specific memory, or overgeneral memory, where your recollections are very broad.