BSc(Hons) dissertation investigating beneficial effects rumination. Abstract below and PDF opposite
As observed by Watkins (2008), there is a dearth of research focusing on the negative aspects of repetitive thought and comparatively little research on the constructive aspects of this condition. Rumination is a type of uncontrollable repetitive thought that has been found to possess pathological qualities. A particular impairment caused by rumination is mental inflexibility. A research group exploited this inflexibility and hypothesised that it may cause a mental ‘stickiness’ that prevents goals from leaving working memory. The group reported that those high in ruminative tendencies outperformed those with low ruminative tendencies in a modified Stroop task, thus supporting their hypothesis. However, due to methodological issues and weak correlational analysis these findings are considered anomalous. This quasi-experiment conducted a partial replication of the original research, addressing its shortcomings with explicit definitions and stronger analysis. Furthermore, highly refined experimental techniques were employed- an Oculomotor-response Stroop task and bespoke Letter Naming task. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between high and low ruminator groups on Stroop task performance. In opposition to the original research, high ruminators performed with significantly higher accuracy on the Letter Naming task. Results are discussed within the context of the original research and the implications of these findings for researchers of repetitive thought. Directions for future research are also suggested.