UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between environmentally induced emotion and memory for a naturalistic experience Petrucci, Aria


Memory for emotional stimuli (e.g., words, images) is typically enhanced, while the remembered duration of negative emotional experiences is overestimated. However, little is known about how emotion affects temporal order memory or how memory is influenced by an environmentally induced emotional state (without any overtly emotional occurrences). In the present study, a sample of N=595 participants was randomly divided into discovery (N=297) and replication (N=298) subsamples using a split-half cross-validation approach. Participants viewed a 15-minute video of a first-person virtual world experience which contains neutral test stimuli and induces diverse emotional responses. Participants then completed tests of item, temporal order, and duration memory, and rated emotion and arousal induced by the virtual world experience. I hypothesized that greater subjective arousal and negative emotion would be related to enhanced item memory, impaired temporal order memory, and longer duration estimates. A Partial Least Squares Correlation analysis produced one significant latent variable in both the discovery (p=.039) and replication samples (p<.001), revealing positive correlations between subjective threat and anxiety (bootstrap ratios>1.96) and item and temporal order memory (p’s<.05). Duration memory and memory bias did not contribute to this pattern. The replication sample yielded additional contributions of arousal and fear to the latent variable. These findings demonstrate that an environmentally induced state of negative emotion corresponds with enhanced ‘what’ and ‘when’ memory.

Item Citations and Data


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