The Amount of Positive Stimuli as Opposed to Neutral Stimuli Recalled from a Word List

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The amount of positive emotional stimuli recalled as opposed to neutral stimuli from a word list.

Abstract The study of human memory has been a subject of science and philosophy for thousands of years and has become one of the major topics of interest within cognitive psychology. Research in cognitive psychology has shown that there are various factors that influence our memory. One theory in cognitive psychology suggests that emotional events tend to be remembered better than nonemotional events. This experiment was designed with the purpose of ascertaining whether memory is enhanced for positive emotional stimuli as compared to neutral stimuli in UEA undergraduates. The study was a within measures

design whereby the independent variable was the list of positive emotional and neutral stimuli words. The dependent variable was the amount of positive emotional words recalled as compared to neutral words. It was hypothesised that positive emotional stimuli would be better recalled than neutral stimuli. The study used a sample of 100 participants who were all undergraduate students at the University of East Anglia. The hypothesis was supported as the participants recalled more positive emotional words than neutral words.

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The study of human memory has been a subject of science and philosophy for thousands of years and has become one of the major topics of interest within cognitive psychology. Memory refers to the processes that are used to acquire, store, retain and later retrieve information. The hippocampus is a region of the brain that is heavily associated with memory and plays an important role in consolidating information from short-term memory into long-term memory (Cherry, 2011). Renowned brain researcher, Robert M, Sapolsky, has shown that sustained stress can damage the hippocampus as cortisol, a class of steroid hormones, are secreted from the adrenal glands during stress which can prevent the brain from laying down a new memory or accessing already existing memories.

One theory in cognitive psychology suggests that emotional events tend to be remembered better than nonemotional events. A study carried out by Dolcos (2008) investigated this theory by measuring two (ERP) event-related potential effects: the emotion effect (more positive ERPs for pleasant or unpleasant stimuli than for neutral stimuli) and the subsequent memory effect (more positive ERPs for subsequently remembered items than for subsequently forgotten items). ERPs were measured while subjects rated the emotional content of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral pictures. As was expected, subsequent recall was better for pleasant and unpleasant pictures than for neutral pictures. The emotion effect was sensitive to arousal in parietal electrodes and to both arousal and valence in frontocentral electrodes. The subsequent memory effect at centroparietal electrodes was greater for emotional pictures than for neutral pictures. This result suggests that emotional information has privileged access to processing resources, possibly leading to better memory formation.

A study found that glucose administration enhanced fMRI brain activation and connectivity related to episodic memory encoding for neutral and emotional stimuli. Parent et al. (2001) ascertained that glucose enhanced activation related to subsequent successful recall. A double-blind, within-participants, crossover design in which either glucose or a saccharin placebo was administered to healthy young male participants was

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conducted. Emotionally arousing negative pictures and emotionally neutral pictures, intermixed with baseline fixation were shown to the participants while being scanned with fMRI. Free recall was tested at 5 minutes after scanning and again after 1 day. It was found that glucose administration increased activation in regions associated with successful episodic memory encoding. It also enhanced activation in regions whose activity was correlated...
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