115 research outputs found

    Memory for Emotionally Provocative Words in Alexithymia: A Role for Stimulus Relevance

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    Alexithymia is associated with emotion processing deficits, particularly for negative emotional information. However, also common are a high prevalence of somatic symptoms and the perception of somatic sensations as distressing. Although little research has yet been conducted on memory in alexithymia, we hypothesized a paradoxical effect of alexithymia on memory. Specifically, recall of negative emotional words was expected to be reduced in alexithymia, while memory for illness words was expected to be enhanced in alexithymia. Eighty-five high or low alexithymia participants viewed and rated arousing illness-related ( pain ), emotionally positive ( thrill ), negative ( hatred ), and neutral words ( horse ). Recall was assessed 45 min later. High alexithymia participants recalled significantly fewer negative emotion words but also more illness-related words than low alexithymia participants. The results suggest that personal relevance can shape cognitive processing of stimuli, even to enhance retention of a subclass of stimuli whose retention is generally impaired in alexithymia

    The Effects of Non-Contingent Extrinsic and Intrinsic Rewards on Memory Consolidation

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    Emotional and arousing treatments given shortly after learning enhance delayed memory retrieval in animal and human studies. Positive affect and reward induced prior to a variety of cognitive tasks enhance performance, but their ability to affect memory consolidation has not been investigated before. Therefore, we investigated the effects of a small, non-contingent, intrinsic or extrinsic reward on delayed memory retrieval. Participants (n = 108) studied and recalled a list of 30 affectively neutral, imageable nouns. Experimental groups were then given either an intrinsic reward (e.g., praise) or an extrinsic reward (e.g., $1). After a one-week delay, participants’ retrieval performance for the word list was significantly better in the extrinsic reward groups, whether the reward was expected or not, than in controls. Those who received the intrinsic reward performed somewhat better than controls, but the difference was not significant. Thus, at least some forms of arousal and reward, even when semantically unrelated to the learned material, can effectively modulate memory consolidation. These types of treatments might be useful for the development of new memory intervention strategies

    Enhanced Post-Learning Memory Consolidation is Influenced by Arousal Predisposition and Emotion Regulation but Not By Stimulus Valence or Arousal

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    Emotionally arousing stimuli are more memorable than neutral ones and arousal induced after learning enhances later retrieval. However, there is as yet little study of how stimulus qualities might interact with induced arousal and how individual differences might influence the modulation of memory. Thus, the present study examined the effect of arousal induced after learning on memory for words that varied in both arousal and valence quality, as well as the influence of three individual differences factors that are known to influence arousal response: emotional suppression, emotional reappraisal, and arousal predisposition. Seventy-six adults (57 female) viewed and rated 60 words that normatively ranged from high to low in arousal and valence. Ten minutes later, they viewed a 3-min comedic or neutral video clip. Arousal induced after learning enhanced 1-week delayed memory, spanning the lengthy task without preference for word type or serial position, contrasting with reports of arousal effects interacting with stimulus qualities. Importantly, being predisposed to arousal led to greater enhancement of long-term memory modulation, while the use of emotional reappraisal, which reduces arousal responding, inhibited the ability of arousal to induce memory enhancement. Thus, individual differences that influence arousal responding can contribute to or interfere with memory modulation

    Reduction of the Misinformation Effect by Arousal Induced After Learning

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    Misinformation introduced after events have already occurred causes errors in later retrieval. Based on literature showing that arousal induced after learning enhances delayed retrieval, we investigated whether post-learning arousal can reduce the misinformation effect. 251 participants viewed four short film clips, each followed by a retention test, which for some participants included misinformation. Afterward, participants viewed another film clip that was either arousing or neutral. One week later, the arousal group recognized significantly more veridical details and endorsed significantly fewer misinformation items than the neutral group. The findings suggest that arousal induced after learning reduced source confusion, allowing participants to better retrieve accurate details and to better reject misinformation

    Modulation of Long-Term Memory by Arousal in Alexithymia: The Role of Interpretation

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    Moderate physiological or emotional arousal induced after learning modulates memory consolidation, helping to distinguish important memories from trivial ones. Yet, the contribution of subjective awareness or interpretation of arousal to this effect is uncertain. Alexithymia, which is an inability to describe or identify one’s emotional and arousal states even though physiological responses to arousal are intact, provides a tool to evaluate the role of arousal interpretation. Participants scoring high and low on alexithymia (N = 30 each) learned a list of 30 words, followed by immediate recall. Participants then saw either an arousing (oral surgery) or neutral video (tooth brushing). Memory was tested 24-h later. Physiological response to arousal was comparable between groups, but subjective response to arousal was impaired in high alexithymia. Yet, delayed word recognition was enhanced by arousal regardless of alexithymia status. Thus, subjective response to arousal, i.e., cognitive appraisal, was not necessary for memory modulation to occur

    Memory Modulation in the Classroom: Selective Enhancement of College Examination Performance by Arousal Induced after Lecture

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    Laboratory studies examining moderate physiological or emotional arousal induced after learning indicate that it enhances memory consolidation. Yet, no studies have yet examined this effect in an applied context. As such, arousal was induced after a college lecture and its selective effects were examined on later exam performance. Participants were divided into two groups who either watched a neutral video clip (n = 66) or an arousing video clip (n = 70) after lecture in a psychology course. The final examination occurred two weeks after the experimental manipulation. Only performance on the group of final exam items that covered material from the manipulated lecture were significantly different between groups. Other metrics, such as the midterm examination and the total final examination score, did not differ between groups. The results indicate that post-lecture arousal selectively increased the later retrieval of lecture material, despite the availability of the material for study before and after the manipulation. The results reinforce the role of post-learning arousal on memory consolidation processes, expanding the literature to include a real-world learning context

    Positive and Negative Sources of Emotional Arousal Enhance Long-Term Word-List Retention When Induced as Long as 30 Min After Learning

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    The consolidation of newly formed memories occurs slowly, allowing memories to be altered by experience for some time after their formation. Various treatments, including arousal, can modulate memory consolidation when given soon after learning, but the degree of time-dependency of these treatments in humans has not been studied. Thus, 212 participants learned a word list, which was followed by either a positively or negatively valenced arousing video clip (i.e., comedy or surgery, respectively) after delays of 0, 10, 30 or 45 min. Arousal of either valence induced up to 30 min after learning, but not after 45 min, significantly enhanced one-week retrieval. The findings support (1) the time-dependency of memory modulation in humans and (2) other studies that suggest that it is the degree of arousal, rather than valence that modulates memory. Important implications for developing memory intervention strategies and for preserving and validating witness testimony are discussed

    Frontal Recruitment During Response Inhibition in Older Adults Replicated With fMRI

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    Recent research has explored age-related differences in multiple areas of cognitive functioning using fMRI, PET, and SPECT. However, because these studies used different tasks, subjects, and methods, little is known about whether the results of these studies are generalizable or repeatable. The present study replicated a previous study [Psychol. Aging 17 (2002) 56] using the same Go/No-go task with a subset of 11 of the original older adult subjects, and using the same fMRI scanner and imaging methods. A direct comparison was made between these participants at Time 1 and Time 2 for both behavioral and functional data. These participants were also compared to a new young adult group of 11 participants. Although the current young adult group did not perform as well as the original young adult group, the original finding of enhanced left prefrontal activation in older adults relative to younger adults was replicated. Furthermore, when comparing Time 1 to Time 2, older adults exhibited comparable areas of activation, but significantly greater magnitude of activation at Time 1 in a few clusters. The findings indicate that older adults exhibit more bilateral brain activity during this task than young adults, which appears compensatory and is repeatable over time. The magnitude of regional activation, however, may vary with extraneuronal factors such as signal-to-noise ratio or task experience. This study adds to existing research suggesting that bilateral frontal activation is a predominant finding in the aging literature, and not specific to certain tasks in age group comparisons

    Post-learning Arousal Enhances Veridical Memory And Reduces False Memory In The Deese-Roediger-McDermott Paradigm

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    The Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm examines false memory by introducing words associated with a non-presented ‘critical lure’ as memoranda, which typically causes the lures to be remembered as frequently as studied words. Our prior work has shown enhanced veridical memory and reduced misinformation effects when arousal is induced after learning (i.e., during memory consolidation). These effects have not been examined in the DRM task, or with signal detection analysis, which can elucidate the mechanisms underlying memory alterations. Thus, 130 subjects studied and then immediately recalled six DRM lists, one after another, and then watched a 3-min arousing (n = 61) or neutral (n = 69) video. Recognition tested 70 min later showed that arousal induced after learning led to better delayed discrimination of studied words from (a) critical lures, and (b) other non-presented ‘weak associates.’ Furthermore, arousal reduced liberal response bias (i.e., the tendency toward accepting dubious information) for studied words relative to all foils, including critical lures and ‘weak associates.’ Thus, arousal induced after learning effectively increased the distinction between signal and noise by enhancing access to verbatim information and reducing endorsement of dubious information. These findings provide important insights into the cognitive mechanisms by which arousal modulates early memory consolidation processes

    Intact Physiological Response to Arousal with Impaired Emotional Recognition in Alexithymia

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    Background: The purpose of the present study was to clarify the relationship between the recognition of emotion and physiological response to emotion (i.e. arousal) in alexithymia. Methods: This study investigated differences in physiological arousal state, as measured by continuous heart rate, electrodermal activity (EDA) and self-reported emotional intensity before and after exposure to an emotionally arousing or neutral videotape among 41 high- or low-alexithymic young adult participants. Results: Across subjects, emotionally negative stimuli produced increased physiological arousal. However, high-alexithymic participants exposed to the arousing videotape did not report increased subjective emotional intensity, as did low-alexithymic participants. In addition, the baseline EDA of high-alexithymic participants was significantly higher than that of the low-alexithymic participants. Conclusions: Results support the prediction that alexithymia leads to a decoupling between subjective and physiological arousal when exposed to emotionally negative stimuli. This decoupling may increase alexithymic individuals’ risks for stress-related illness
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