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Posts Tagged ‘Emotion’

Effects of Divided Attention on False Memories: Good News for Children, Not So for Adults

May 3rd, 2014 2 comments

Memory is an indispensable tool in our everyday lives, yet it is not perfect. Sometimes our own memory systems fail us, we remember things that we have never seen or recall events that have never happened. Such memories are called false memories, which have served as the topic of a large body of psychology research. Studies on false memories usually use the DRM paradigm (Desse, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995). This paradigm requires participants to study lists of words that are related in meaning to each other and to a critical lure (CL) that do not appear in the lists. After that, participants take a memory test. Results show that people tend to remember or recall the CL as frequently as they do the studied words, and each time the CL is recalled is considered a false memory. Read more…

Think like a Makeshift MacGyver rather than a Negative Nancy: Exploring the Influences of the Survival-Processing Memory Advantage

May 1st, 2014 1 comment

Imagine that your plane has crashed into the ocean, and you are forced to swim to a deserted island located hundreds of miles away from civilization. All your luggage and the plane’s survival kit have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, and you only have the clothes on your back and the few knickknacks in your pockets. As you sit on the beach exhausted and anxious for a future rescue, you begin to fear that you won’t survive.

island

Don’t worry! The unfortunate LOST-like situation described above is just an example of the kind of scenario that participants are asked to imagine during the survival-processing paradigm task, which is used to observe some of the complex and adaptive functions of memory. During the task, half of the participants are asked to imagine themselves in a survival type situation like the described plane crash whereas the other half are asked to imagine themselves in a non-survival based situation like moving to a foreign land. While envisioning, all Read more…

Your Eyes Can Give You Away

May 1st, 2014 7 comments

eyes

That face. I know that face. How do I know that face? Do I wave? Do I know them that well? Everyone has had that experience where they recognize someone’s face, and you may know absolutely nothing about the person, but you know you’ve seen their face before.

How can we recognize people’s faces so easily? Facial recognition is a highly specialized process, and is incredibly accurate. Facial features such as the eyes, nose, mouth, the distance between features, and the shapes of features help us to identity a person’s face.  But when we are in a very emotional situation, are we still as good at facial recognition as we are in regular situations? Read more…

Power of Emotions on Memory

November 26th, 2013 3 comments

Have you ever had a moment or event in your life that was so significant that even though it happened many years ago you are still able remember vivid details of that day? This type of memory is called a flashbulb memory. Many Americans have developed a flashbulb memory for September 11th, 2001 because it was such a shocking and significant event in their lives. Are you one of the many people who have a flashbulb memory of this day? Where were you when you first heard the news of the plane crash? What were you doing when you heard the news? These questions were adapted from questions asked in a study on flashbulb memories conducted by Bohn and Berntsen in 2007. If you can answer these questions, then you have a flashbulb memory. Congrats!

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Flashbulb memories are an interesting topic for many reasons. Though people tend to be very confident in the validity of their flashbulb memories, the truth of the matter is these vivid memories are just as susceptible to alteration and degradation as normal memories. Flashbulb memories tend to include inaccurate details. But what if the quality of your memory could be altered simply by your mood? That is precisely what Bohn and Berntsen set out to test in their study.  They tested the differences in your mood at the time of the event, affected your flashbulb memory.

For such a study, the experimenters needed a surprising and significant event that would have been experienced by many people. Bohn and Berntsend ended up choosing the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989 reuniting East and West Germany after being divided for 28 years! This single event had a great impact on the lives of Germans living on either side of the Wall. Thus it was a great event for the experiment!

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Categories: Memory Tags: ,

Hiding Your Emotions: Useful, But Also Hurtful

April 30th, 2013 10 comments

In many social situations, it is necessary to hide what you are feeling.  Take, for example, that you hate your boss.  Just because you hate him doesn’t mean you can openly express your feelings of dislike for him, because that would leave you, in all likelihood, jobless.  In this situation, suppressing your emotional expressions is beneficial to you. Decreasing your outward expression of felt emotions is called emotion suppression.  Many adults are very good at suppressing their emotions and do it frequently in their day-to-day lives in order to avoid controversy or in order to stay within social norms.  Emotion suppression is beneficial for people in many social contexts, but does using emotion suppression have any other benefits besides its social advantages? Or are there any harmful effects that come with using emotion suppression?

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Categories: Memory Tags: ,

Remember That Song?

April 30th, 2013 12 comments

Do you remember that top hit from your favorite 90s boy band that you listened to on your CD player in 4th grade? Now can you recall that song on the radio that you listened to last week while driving to Colby College on I-95? Chances are, you will remember every last word of that pop song from a decade ago, but you cannot remember anything about that song you heard very recently while driving past endless pine trees. It may seem counter intuitive that certain songs from the distant past are ingrained in memory much better than the latest hits. However, past research has shown that memory and emotion are closely linked, and memory can be enhanced when correlated with powerful emotions (Laird et al., 1982). Music can be an effective catalyst in eliciting strong emotion, and people use music as a way to derive emotional responses. For example, people listen to upbeat and lively music when they want to socialize at parties, and movies play sad, slow music in a minor key during tragic moments. To examine whether emotion can have an effect on the ability to remember songs, Stephanie M. Stalinski and E. Gleen Schellenberg, investigated whether “liking” a song is correlated with the ability to remember it at a later point in time.

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Categories: Memory Tags: , ,

Sense-triggered memory: why smelling your ex-boyfriend’s old sweatshirt makes you want to cry

April 3rd, 2013 7 comments

clothes

Have you ever smelled a certain cologne and felt your heart drop because it was the one your ex-boyfriend wore? Or have you caught a whiff of your mom’s apple pie and affectionately remembered devouring a slice with your brother? Maybe you’ve smelled a certain brand of cigar and remembered how happy you were bouncing on your grandfather’s knee as a child. Certain sensory cues can be very powerful triggers for emotional memories. While many people think of sounds such as music as being strong memory cues, smells actually produce the most emotional and evocative memories.

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Categories: Aging, Memory Tags: ,