Effects of emotion on awareness in memory: applying the Remember-Know approach to awareness in memory for emotional news stories

Lazaro, Maria Alexandra de Jesus (2005). Effects of emotion on awareness in memory: applying the Remember-Know approach to awareness in memory for emotional news stories. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)

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This thesis investigates subjective states of awareness in memory for emotional information following Tulving's (1985) dual-memory model in which feelings of 'remembering' (including specific recollection of the encounter with the item) index episodic memory and feelings of 'knowing' (memory but without any specific recollection) index semantic memory. Rajaram's (1996) proposal that distinctiveness of processing increases feelings of 'remembering' while fluency of processing increases feelings of 'knowing' was examined. Seven studies utilising news stories with varying emotional content were conducted following the assumption that emotional content would increase both distinctiveness and fluency of processing (cf. Oschner 2000). If emotional information invokes greater distinctiveness of encoding, this would be expected to result in enhanced episodic encoding and increased 'remembering'; greater fluency of processing would be expected to result in enhanced semantic encoding and increased feelings of 'knowing'. The studies broadly support the hypothesis that emotional news stories increased feelings of 'remembering'; however, emotion did not systematically affect feelings of 'knowing'.

Earlier research using different materials found increased 'remembering' with enhanced distinctive/elaborative processing. Three studies manipulating depth of processing, level of attention at encoding and repeated study trials replicated these effects with both emotional and neutral news stories.

Using news stories as a study material facilitates investigation of the hypothesis that conditions promoting learning (transfer to semantic memory) would lead to increased feelings of 'knowing' (Conway, Gardiner, Perfect, Anderson & Cohen, 1997). This hypothesis was supported for both emotional and neutral stories.

The viability of exploring memory awareness for stories varying in emotional content was demonstrated and the results support the view that emotional distinctiveness increases feelings of remembering. It is argued that feelings of remembering depend on both distinctive and fluent encoding processes. It is suggested that emotional fluency at the encoding stage makes emotional information more readily available for episodic encoding and thereby fosters feelings of remembering.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: EThOS request
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: City University London PhD theses
School of Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18126

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