1. Sign our petition calling on Cochrane to withdraw their review of Exercise Therapy for CFS here.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, the 'News in Brief' for the week beginning 8th April 2024 is here.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Welcome! To read the Core Purpose and Values of our forum, click here.
    Dismiss Notice

Greater specificity of activity memories in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (2017) Maryanne Martin

Discussion in 'Psychosomatic research - ME/CFS and Long Covid' started by MeSci, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK

    Greater specificity of activity memories in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: Implications for exercise-based treatment

    Maryanne Martin, Iana Alexeeva(*)
    - Department of Experimental Psychology, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, St Edmund Hall, Queen's Ln, Oxford, OX1 4AR, United Kingdom

    * Corresponding author. Email: iana.alexeeva@seh.ox.ac.uk

    Received 5 July 2017
    Revised 26 October 2017
    Accepted 9 December 2017
    Available online 16 December 2017



    Autobiographical memory is crucial to goal attainment, thus it may influence coping with chronic illness. Autobiographical memory was investigated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and healthy people. Two contrasting hypotheses were tested. On the basis of Williams and colleagues' model of overgeneral memories in depression, and the high co-morbidity between CFS/ME and depression, we
    predicted overgeneral autobiographical memories in the CFS/ME group. In contrast, on the basis of a postulated oversensitization of the central nervous system in the CFS/ME population and their amplified attention towards anything that might threaten their energy balance, such as activity, we predicted that autobiographical activity memories in CFS/ME would be more specific than in healthy controls.


    We employed modified cued autobiographic recall in CFS/ME (N = 89) and healthy (N = 61) participants, who were asked to recall particular past events when they experienced happiness, pain, fatigue, or were physically active. Levels of psychological distress, rumination, and behavioural disengagement were assessed.


    CFS/ME participants recalled significantly more specific autobiographical memories of past physical activity, compared to healthy controls. Within the CFS/ME group, lower levels of ruminating about past activity were significantly related to greater specificity in recall of
    activity. Further, those CFS/ME participants who recalled more specific autobiographical activity memories reported significantly lower levels of behavioural disengagement.


    CFS/ME individuals' autobiographical memory for activity differs both from healthy individuals and the typical pattern found in depression. The effect of specific activity memories could be utilized in exercise-based treatment of CFS/ME.

    Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Myalgic encephalomyelitis; Overgeneral memory; Autobiographical memory; Physical activity; Memory specificity

    (c) 2017 Elsevier Inc.
  2. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

    Hampshire, UK
    Well, what a surprise. We could have saved them the trouble and told them it would.

    No, no it couldn't. Or more realistically, it probably will be but it shouldn't be.
    Woolie, Missense, Joel and 17 others like this.
  3. Hoopoe

    Hoopoe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Sounds like the patients with worse memory are also *gasp*, who would have thought, sicker in other areas.

    As in, think of a time you were healthier, and now do your GET?

    I also like how they went from a correlation (assuming it's even true) to causality.
  4. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    So exercise-based treatment studies by psychologists get all the funding.
    Real science pointing to cellular energy dysfunction gets ignored by psychologists.
    So we should do a study called
    "Poorer specificity of scientific attention in Psychology: Implications for your careers"
    Zombie Lurker, zzz, MEMarge and 16 others like this.
  5. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    Winners of the ignoble booby prize.
  6. Philipp

    Philipp Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I would like to propose a new rule: Before publication, whoever submitted a study in any kind of psychology-affiliated department must first and foremost beat the Turing test. I am increasingly convinced we are dealing with bots that put these things together from strings of random sentences taken from psychiatry textbooks. The last sentence was a clear giveaway, because not only are we dealing with a non-sequitur, we are rapidly approaching the level of Diceware passwords. I cannot explain how 'exercise' could possibly end up in that sentence in any other way.
    zzz, Amw66, MEMarge and 11 others like this.
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    These researchers have done other poor work in the past. Not sure I really fancy reading this one.
  8. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    I refuse to read it on the grounds that the abstract is idiotic drivel.
    TiredSam, zzz, MEMarge and 15 others like this.
  9. Subtropical Island

    Subtropical Island Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I think a useful exercise for all those embarking on an experiment is to list all your assumptions before you start. Then give that list to someone who is very good at experimental method and get them to check what you missed.
    [Invariably you find something you need to fix in your experimental method, or that you need to do an entirely different experiment, usually with a number of preceding tests to confirm the validity of your assumptions, to get to the point.]

    I found myself listing assumptions, huge, unverified, (many unverifiable) assumptions in this abstract even before they began the thing. The conclusion leaps and bounds to unrelated subjects and doesn't care to even consider their own experiment and what it might actually tell them about anything.
    [Having seen how hard it is to get funding for things that will expand the body of human knowledge in real, useful ways, or even just interesting ones, this one makes me wish (upon a star) that it were written by 5yr olds as an example to show what not to do. Not something that sucked up funding away from those who could really use it.]
    If I were their absentee supervisor, I'd be asking them to go back, look at the actual data, and find some real conclusions, even if they aren't what you were looking for (i.e. What you were supposed to do in the first place.) they can't fix the waste and mess but they could still apply a brain to the conclusion. What does your data really mean? About anything? What happens if you apply different assumptions to the same data? What does that tell you?
    Good exercise for 13-15yr old science students.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  10. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Tails we win, heads you lose.

    You can't have two opposite hypotheses, you choose the one that makes the most sense. Everything else is HARKing...
    BurnA, Amw66, MEMarge and 7 others like this.
  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    MEMarge, Andy and Allele like this.
  12. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    One for Dr Geraghty..
    MEMarge likes this.
  13. BurnA

    BurnA Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Since when has autobiographical memory been crucial for goal attainment and even if it was, what has that got to do with coping with a chronic illness?

    WTF is this nonsense.
  14. Joel

    Joel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    It's so dumb I sort of think, do we even need to tackle this kind of "research"? I can't comprehend how anyone could be stupid enough to see any value in this sort of tripe. But, I've seen before, to my astonishment, that people really do. Astonishingly dumb this paper.
  15. Subtropical Island

    Subtropical Island Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I've discovered (I had a very sheltered childhood in which everyone genuinely wanted to understand things)
    that there are a lot of people who just want something to back up their chosen belief or statement (common throughout all time) without any interest in learning more (oh)
    but that now there is a whole lot of 'research' being done just to supply a reference for such rhetoric. Of course, the desire for paper mills like this is nothing new but the range of people seeking to back their (can I say kooky?) statements is expanding. They've effectively created a market for quotable 'research'.
    Many such people are even quite ernest in a desire to join the conversation on the same level but somewhere along the line they missed the basics of what objectively makes good science and critical thought. In the past I've sought to educate them. I still think we should. But some don't realise they might need any help at all. After all, they 'have the studies to prove it'!
    Downside of broader access to higher education is broader range of motivations, not all of it helpful to knowledge.
    Joel, MEMarge, Valentijn and 2 others like this.
  16. Valentijn

    Valentijn Guest

    I think it's useful to point out the flaws and even utter stupidity, if only to educate the authors and/or discourage them from doing more stupid and annoying things.
    Solstice, Joel, Andy and 3 others like this.
  17. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    From a Scottish comedy sketch - i smell sh**te.....
  18. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)


Share This Page