Emotionality Biases in Memory

Posted May 11th, 2010 at 3:12 pm.

Rachel Jacobson

Mentor: Professor Anjali Thapar

Cognitive research has demonstrated that both young adults and older adults have enhanced memory for emotional material, in comparison with neutral material. In these studies, the stimuli that are characterized as “positive” could be the word “happiness,” or an image of parents with their new twin babies. In contrast, “negative” words and images could pertain to topics such as death or destruction. An example of “neutral” material is the word, “chair,” or an image of students listening to a guest lecturer.

Additional research has suggested a positive emotionality bias for the older adults, noting that older adults tend to recall positive emotional material better than negative or neutral material. In contrast, young adults tend to have higher memory performance for negative emotional material, rather than for positive or neutral material. My research will attempt to replicate these results and to investigate the underlying mechanisms behind the emotionality bias and the effects in young and older adults.

Filed under: 2007,Jacobson, Rachel,Thapar, Dr. Anjali by Ann Dixon

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