Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mental imagery is an experience like perception in the absence of a percept. It is a ubiquitous feature of human cognition, yet it has been relatively neglected in the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of depression. Imagery abnormalities in depression include an excess of intrusive negative mental imagery; impoverished positive imagery; bias for observer perspective imagery; and overgeneral memory, in which specific imagery is lacking. We consider the contribution of imagery dysfunctions to depressive psychopathology and implications for cognitive behavioral interventions. Treatment advances capitalizing on the representational format of imagery (as opposed to its content) are reviewed, including imagery rescripting, positive imagery generation, and memory specificity training. Consideration of mental imagery can contribute to clinical assessment and imagery-focused psychological therapeutic techniques and promote investigation of underlying mechanisms for treatment innovation. Research into mental imagery in depression is at an early stage. Work that bridges clinical psychology and neuroscience in the investigation of imagery-related mechanisms is recommended.

Original publication

DOI

10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-092925

Type

Journal

Annu Rev Clin Psychol

Publication Date

2016

Volume

12

Pages

249 - 280

Keywords

intrusive imagery, optimism, overgeneral memory, rescripting, vividness, Depressive Disorder, Humans, Imagination, Psychotherapy