The Effect of Emotion on Recognition Memory for Scenes: Support for the Dual-Process Theory
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The main goals of the experiment were to assess the effects of emotion on the processes of recollection and familiarity, and to ascertain which type of model best explains the processes involved in recognition memory, as there is currently disagreement between dual-process and single-process models. Subjects studied emotional real-world scenes surrounded by either red or yellow borders and were asked to memorize the scenes and their associated border colours. Item recognition tests were used to attempt to assess the familiarity process. Source memory tests were used to attempt to assess the recollection process. A significant main effect of valence on performance for hits was found, whereas valence was not found to have significantly affected performance for correct rejections. Emotional valence was found to have no significant effect on the source retrieval. Although not all of the data analysis produced significant results, the study is the first to assess the effect of emotion in recognition memory for scenes using item recognition and source retrieval tests, hence the findings set an intriguing precedent for future research.
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