Korean Clinical Psychology Association
[ Original Article ]
Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology - Vol. 41, No. 1, pp.1-10
ISSN: 1229-0335 (Print) 2733-4538 (Online)
Print publication date 28 Feb 2022
Received 26 Aug 2021 Revised 09 Nov 2021 Accepted 16 Nov 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15842/kjcp.2022.41.1.001

Effect of Positive Mental Imagery Stimuli on Anhedonic Depressive Symptoms

Mi Jeong Park ; Soo Hyun Park
Department of Psychology, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to: Soo Hyun Park, Department of Psychology, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Sedodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea; E-mail: parksoohyun@yonsei.ac.kr The authors declare that there exists no conflict of interest.This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

© 2022 Korean Clinical Psychology Association


This study aimed to investigate the effect of the intervention of positive mental imagery on anhedonia and the underlying reward mechanism in depression, and to explore the sustainability of the impact of the intervention following stress induction. Participants reporting anhedonic depressive symptoms (N=54) were randomly assigned to either a positive mental imagery condition or a verbalization condition, the former utilizing positive imagery stimuli only, and the latter utilizing language-based on meaning. Participants in both the conditions completed a computerized picture-word task for imagery generation and mental arithmetic stress task for stress induction. The results showed that both intervention conditions significantly reduced anhedonia and negative affect and that the mental imagery intervention was not superior to verbalization intervention. After stress induction, there was no significant difference between the two conditions in terms of the sustainability of the impact of the intervention on mood, reward subcomponents, and anhedonia. These findings provide preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of positive mental imagery in improving anhedonia. Furthermore, this study emphasizes the importance of repetitive imagery intervention due to the unsustainable impact of brief interventions after stress induction.


positive mental imagery, anhedonic depressive symptoms, stress induction

Author contributions statement

MJP, a graduate student at Yonsei University, collected and analyzed the data, and prepared the manuscript. SHP, an associate professor at Yonsei University, served as the principal investigator of the research grant and supervised the research process. All the authors provided critical feedback, participated in revision of the manuscript, and approved the final submission.


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