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Study on Characteristics of Emotional Memory

Author: QianGuoYing
Tutor: YangZhiLiang
School: East China Normal University
Course: Basic Psychology
Keywords: emotional memory neutral memory biological feedback eye tracking remember/know
CLC: B842.6
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 1832
Quote: 6
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Emotional memory is one of the key domain of emotion and memory research. It is related with many topics such as individual development, behavior, perception, believes, goals, self-concept, and mental health. The earliest study of emotional memory can be traced back to Ribot, who has proposed emotional memory in1894. Push aside by the mainstream psychology school, the study of emotional memory had been stopped. Until the rises of hot cognition, emotional memory started developing and commonly noticed by psychologist.Previous studies focused on the attentional stage of emotional processing but not emotional memory. And, negative emotional memory was emphasized but positive one was not. In this paper, we manipulate emotional arousal levels and valence and investigated emotional memory on encoding phase, consolidation phase and retrieval phase. We used recognition paradigm and remember/know task and measured physiological indicators including biological feedback and eye tracking. Three studies were in our data collection part.Study 1: Emotional pictures selection, Based on which, Four behavioral and one eye movement experiment was conducted to explore the encoding phase of emotional memory.In Experiment 1, Using verbal report and physiological indicators, we selected 210 emotional pictures, including positive, negative and neutral ones. Positive and negative ones reflected similar arousal levels and both are higher than that of neutral ones, and the three types of pictures have three valence, which also see in skin conductance response, heart rate and electromyographic.In experiment 2A, we set three conditions of attention and compared subjects’ performance of positive, negative and neutral emotional memory. Results showed that emotional memory was significantly reduced in divided attention conditions, compared with neutral condition, suggesting that attention systems have effect on emotional memory by modulating emotional valence and arousal.In experiment 2B, subjects were set in similar condition but with full time to finish their tasks. Results showed that negative emotional memory was with low attention-dependency but positive emotional memory was with high attention-dependency, suggesting that subjects can modulate their emotional arousal and valence with little attention in no-time-limitation encoding conditions, except that with positive emotional memory condition, in which subjects need a little bit more attention to exclude false memory.In experiment 3A, subjects were set in similar condition but with limited time to finish their tasks. We explored properties of central and peripheral emotional memory. Results showed that (1) no significant difference among peripheral emotional memory in the three attentional conditions; (2) significant difference emerged among central emotional memory in the three attentional conditions.In experiment 3B, subjects were set in similar condition but with unlimited time to finish their tasks. Results showed that (1) arousal enhanced performance of central emotional memory but decreased performance of peripheral emotional memory in little attention conditions; and (2) reversed pattern emerged in adequate attentional conditions.In experiment 4, subjects were set in similar condition but with unlimited time to perform their tasks eye movement tasks. Results provided some information for the enhanced effect in experiment 3.In study 2, emotional memory and its central and peripheral properties were investigated in two experiments.In experiment 5, we manipulated the interval in learning phase and testing phase to explore forgetting rules in emotional memory. Results showed that positive emotional memory was forgotten in a reversed U-shape speed curve, and negative emotional memory were forgotten in a fast-to-slow way.In experiment 6, we manipulated the interval in learning phase and testing phase to explore forgetting rules in emotional memory. Results showed that negative central memory and neutral peripheral memory were hard to forget. Emotions reduced forgetting of emotional details but enhanced emotional pure gist memory.In study 3, we used remembering/knowing paradigm and found that emotion enhanced consciousness-based remembering, suggesting that vividness is one key property of emotional memory and is benefited from consciousness-based processing.We found emotional memory’ s properties such as attention-dependency, toughness, and vividness. They are results of the interaction of different phases of memory processing and the arousal and valence of emotion.

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