Remembering Emotional Pictures
This study seeks to investigate the effects of emotion on memory performance. 41 undergraduate Cornell University students participated in the study. Subjects were given an emotion induction task that induced either positive or neutral moods by viewing and studying pictures of a particular emotional characterization controlled on both valence and arousal dimensions from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). To verify mood induction, the Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) was administered shortly before an immediate memory recognition task was given. One week later, subjects completed the PANAS again, and were thereafter given a delayed recognition test to measure the level of performance and degree of forgetting between session one and session two, as well as overall memory performance and types of changes. Results indicate that on the immediate test, there was a significant type of test item effect since no participants incorrectly identified semantically related or unrelated distractors. While there was no main effect of condition (emotion) on the immediate test, there was both a type of test item effect as well as a strong condition effect on the delayed recognition task. Also in the delayed test, acceptance rates of targets decreased for all emotion conditions, but participants in the pleasant high arousal group showed greatest memory for targets relative to positive low arousal and lastly neutral individuals. Finally, it was concluded that effects of forgetting on a delayed memory test could be attenuated by giving subjects an immediate memory test.