Negative Emotion Enhances Gist: Evidence From Picture Recognition
3 Although there has been prior work on how true and false memory are influenced by emotional valence and arousal, they have often been confounded. Thus, it is difficult to say whether specific effects are due to valence, arousal, or both. In the present research, I used a picture-memory paradigm that allowed emotional valence to be manipulated with arousal held constant. Negatively-valenced pictures elevated both true and false memory relative to positive and neutral pictures. Conjoint recognition modeling analyses revealed that negative valence (a) reduced erroneous recollection rejection for true memory and phantom recollection for false memory but (b) increased familiarity for both. Thus, negative valence reduced distortion in some ways but increased it in others, which cannot be detected without models that separate the effects of different retrieval processes. Discrete emotion analyses revealed that sadness increased false memory compared to joy, fear, and disgust due to elevated levels of familiarity. These data are consistent with the view that emotional valence strengthens conceptual gist that enhances the familiarity of presented and unpresented material.
emotion; false memory; recognition
Anderson, Adam K.; Ferguson, Melissa J.
M.A., Developmental Psychology
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis