Dwell or Decenter? Rumination and Decentering Predict Working Memory Updating After Interpersonal Criticism

Roselinde H. Kaiser, Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, Christina A. Metcalf, Sona Dimidjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Rumination and mindful decentering are cognitive responses to emotional experiences. Rumination involves dwelling on negative thoughts, whereas decentering involves observing negative thoughts as temporary mental events. However, the question of how rumination or decentering shape the effects of emotional experiences on cognitive or behavioral functioning remains ambiguous. The present study investigated the relationships between trait rumination, trait decentering, and working memory following exposure to interpersonal criticism. Results showed that rumination and decentering were negatively correlated, and predicted opposing patterns of working memory updating. Individuals high in rumination were slower to update working memory after criticism, but individuals high in decentering were faster to respond to the same trials. Increases in decentering predicted better task performance even at high levels of rumination. These findings suggest that a ruminative response style may impede the ability to clear irrelevant information from working memory under negative emotional conditions, but mindful decentering protects this ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-753
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 7 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Decentering
  • Emotion
  • Mindfulness
  • Rumination
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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