Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jutta Joormann - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Michael McCullough - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Raymond Ownby, M.D., M.B.A. - Outside Committee Member


Cognitive theories propose that interpretive biases play an important role in the onset and maintenance of emotional disorders. To investigate the proposed causal role of interpretive biases, this study examined if it is possible to train interpretations of ambiguous situations, and if this training affects emotional vulnerability and memory. The results indicated that the interpretive training was effective in inducing the intended group differences in interpretive bias, but that the positive training was more effective than negative training. These findings also highlight the potential benefits of inducing positive interpretive biases on mood and emotional vulnerability for some individuals (i.e., individuals with high depression or rumination scores). Additionally, results from the current study demonstrate that manipulating interpretive biases can result in corresponding changes in memory. In sum, findings from the current study hold valuable implications for the effects of positively manipulating interpretive biases on mood, emotional vulnerability, and memory. Future research can further elucidate the relationship between interpretive biases and mood, as well as extend current findings to a clinical population.


Cognitive Biases; Interpretation; Mood Disorders