Emotion and memory

  • Created by: freya_bc
  • Created on: 09-01-17 14:49

Mood effects on memory

Does our own emotional state influence memory for emotional information?

e.g. if you're happy and watch a happy/uplifting film, do you later rmember more than if you were feeling sad at time or recall?

MOOD CONGRUITY EFFECT or Mood Congruent Memory 
- the finding that learning is often best when the material learned has the same affective value as the learner's mood state 

Bower (1981) recall best when mood state at learning/encoding is same as state at retrieval/recall
Experimentally investigated using naturally occurring mood states e.g. parachute jump/roller-coaster ride OR mood induction procedure in lab conditions 

1 of 8

Mood induction procedures

HYPNOSIS (Bower, Gilligan, Monteiro, 1981) asked to imagine happy/sad events/experiences

LISTENING TO MUSIC (Niedenthal and Setterlund, 1994) happy/sad

READING VIGNETTES (Velten, 1968) short sentneces about self to increase feelings of happy/sad- Velten technique e.g. my parents dont know who I am, I feel completely alone, I am miserable, I feel cheated. Sentences can cause elation or depression 

GIFT GIVING- make people happier 

Rating scale qaires used to determine whether mood manipulation has been successful 

2 of 8

Bower (1981)

2 groups hypnotic sad/happy mood induction 

P: learn 2 lists of neutral words (each in different mood) List A, List B
1/2 pp sad= list A, happy= list B
1/2 pp happy- list A, sad= list B
Reinduce mood
Free recall list A, list B was to make task difficult- cognitive interference

R: if learnt in sad mood better recall when sad, and learnt in happy mood better recall when happy (better retention)

3 of 8

Semantic Network Theory of Affect (Bower, 1981)

Theory to explain shoem of effects of mood on cog processes 

Key assumptions:
- emotions are nodes (units) in a semantic network (a network of related ideas)
- having connections to relared ideas/physiological systems/events/expressive patterns 

By activating node, spreads activation to all other nodes in areas e.g. names, loss and despair, activation of sadness node inhibit activation of happiness

Consciousness of nodes means must be activated about certain thresholds 

4 of 8

Using Bower's (1981) theory to explain....

If during recall the same emotion/mood is activated, the emotional node in the network is activated, spread activation to assoc nodes in network
If match between mood at learning and recall, then previous items will increase activation and be better recalled e.g. grandma and train learnt in sad state, when sad activation spreads in semantic network to these concpets increasing likelihood of recall

Feeling sad should mean learn more about sad material e.g. from a sad film than if they were happy 
Emotionally loaded info (sad events stored in network) more strongly assoc with its congruent emotional node (sadness) To-be-remembered info (film/tv) congruent with emotional state links up strongly to this network > leads to extensive/elab encoding so superior LTM

x mood cong effect explained by cog changes (activations within network) BUT mood state changes also result in physical change e.g. arousal levels, so mood-congruity could be explained by arousal changes instead 

5 of 8

Varner and Ellis (1998)

4 groups of pp - depressed mood induction
- schema induction (read statements relevant to essay writing- cog activity but no emotion)
- neutral mood induction
- arousal induction (step up and down onto chair)

Random list of words derived from 2 lists (one assoc with depression, one associated with essay writing skills) Words mixed up, free recall test 

R: More likely to remember dep related words if felt depressed, BUT for arousal condition no congruity effect 
In schema condition- people recalled essay writing words when previous schema activated cog activity 

C: Arousal has little or no impact on selective processing of mood-related info 

6 of 8

Thought Congruity Effect

- finding that a person's thoughts, judgements/evaluations, free-associations are often congruent with their mood state 
Effect observed in idvs with dep frequently experiencing negative thoughts/evaluating things in a negative light 

Lab studies present list containing 2 categories of affective words to pp (randomly mixed)
1. Pleasant words e.g. sunshine, love, calm
2. Unpleasant words e.g. dead, pain, cut 
Then mood-induced pleasant/unpleasant, test recall of words whilst in mood 

Expect higher recall from pleasant subset when in pleasant mood compared to being in an unpleasant mood. Opposite effect for unpleasant words. 
Another approach involves asking people to recall personal life events (autobiographical memories) after a mood induction procedure. Prediction: pleasant mood > recall more pleasant/positive memories 

7 of 8

Clark and Teasdale (1982) and Thought Congruity Ex

CLARK & TEASDALE (1982) tested depressive patients on two occasions
Severity of depression being different on the two

R: when depression levels were more severe, fewer happy memories were reported. Consistent with the 'depression vicious circle/cycle' Severe event > depressive mood > memories and thoights of loss and failure 

Mood state leads to activation of the relevant emotional node, spreads activation to other associated nodes of the network (congruent with the emotional state)
Raising the activation of such related info increases the chances of that information entering consciousness 

8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Emotion and memory resources »