The current state of memory Specificity Training (MeST) for emotional disorders.


Barry TJ(1), Hallford DJ(2), Hitchcock C(3), Takano K(4), Raes F(5).
Author information:
(1)Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong; Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia; School of Health and Life Sciences, Federation University, Mount Helen, Australia.
(3)Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
(4)Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, München, Germany.
(5)Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Memory Specificity Training (MeST) is an intervention developed from basic science that has found clinical utility. MeST uses cued recall exercises to target the difficulty that some people with emotional disorders have in recalling personally experienced events. MeST is simple enough to be delivered alongside traditional interventions or online by artificial intelligence. Currently, research indicates MeST's effects are immediate but short-lived, and there is limited research indicating its superiority over established interventions. Future investigations must establish the dosage and specific components of MeST that are necessary for clinically significant effects. Further, it must establish the secondary processes (e.g., problem-solving) that mediate between MeST-driven improvements in memory and symptoms. Similar interventions that build upon the idea of training autobiographical memory specificity are also emerging and warrant further investigation.