Role of Emotion

  • Created by: gracepxx
  • Created on: 08-04-16 12:57


Emotion can either have positive or negative impact on memory

Lead to enhanced recall through flashbulb memory or to us subconsiously "forgetting" events

Mood states such as depression also impact our recall

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P1 - Describe flashbulb memory

Term "flashbulb memory" coined by Brown and Tulvik (1977) 

Refers to vivid long-lasting recollection about discovery of personally important events

Flashbulb analogy comes from idea that small details of event such as who you were with, when you fouond out about the event or where you were, are lit up like a giant flashbulb

Different from normal memories - highly detailed, last a lifetime, immune to decay without rehearsal

Example - discovery of 9/11 terrorist attacks

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P2 - Evaluate flashbulb memory

Wright (1994) - looked at FBs in terms of Hillsborough Disaster
Interviewed survivoes 5 months after disaster - found recall was limited
Concluded they didn't have a flashbulb memory and instead reconstructed their memories using own experiences combined with things in the media

Sheingold & Terry (1982) - for FB memory to occur, event must have signficant importance - suggested this is wha tlakced in Hillsborough case - didn't know the 96 killed

Supported by Conway et al (1994) - agreed event has to be personally signficant to form FB
Interviewed Ps about Thatcher's resignation - 86% of UK Ps had vivid flashbulb memories about discovery of this compared to just 29% non-UK ps
Thatcher's actions had more of personal impact on UK, causing more emotion and so enhancing recall

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P3 - Describe repressing memory

Emotion can also have opposite effect on memory - impair it 

Freud used term "repression" when talking about personality 

Thoughts repressed to protect ego from emotional conflicts

Anxiety levels reducedby placing unpleasant memories beyond consious awareness 

However, Freud said despite repression, they can still affect our consious awareness, thoughts and actions

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P4 - Evaluate repression

Williams (1994) looked at 206 women who were sexually assulted 20 yrs ago
After interviews - found 35% no recall of events 
Of those who did, most said there was a time when they wouldn't have been able to recall past
Shows how common repressin is when negative emotions are involved but also that it is possible to retrieve them from subconsious 

Karon & Widener (1997) - studied WW2 veterans who suffered post-traumatic stress
Found after having therapy and talking about emotions which were previously repressed - stress levels reduced
Highlghts how much repressed memories still affect consious selves

After discovery, repressed memory therapy (RMT) introduced
Allows people to talk about memories, reducing anxiety - however, criticised as it was thought false, unpleasant memories could be planted into patients heads

Ease of creating false memories demonstrated - Loftus & Pickrell (1995)
Convinced adults they'd been lost in mall as child to the point that even after being told it was a study, they remained convinced it was true.

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P5 - Effect of depression/mood state

Depression is a mood which increased impaired memory

Leads to negative recall bias - sufferer more inclined to remember unhappy memories 

Depression leads to people being inattentive - memories not encoded to LTM, so haven't forgotten but just failed to store it 

In Finland, adults with depression performed poorly on a memory test but after 6 months of treatment, results improved - mood state has big impact on memory

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