Item and source memory with emotional materials in young and older adults
AdvisorGlisky, Elizabeth L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEmotional experiences seem to be easier to remember than neutral ones, but whether memory for all aspects of an experience is improved by emotion remains unclear. Some researchers have argued that the influence of emotion is different on memory for item versus source information, whereas others have argued that emotion affects both similarly. Also, whether item and source memory are affected by emotion in older people in the same way as young people is currently unknown. This dissertation examined the relations among item and source memory, emotion, and aging. In Experiment 1, young people and older adults were asked to report memory for source information surrounding a real life event (i.e., how they heard about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001). No age differences were found in source memory, suggesting that emotion improves memory for contextual information, especially in older adults. This hypothesis was subsequently tested in a series of laboratory studies, in which item and source memory for emotional and neutral materials was examined in young people and older adults. Memory for emotional items was superior to memory for neutral items in both young and older adults, whereas the emotional content of the stimulus, for the most part, had no effect on source memory. However, source memory was improved when the source itself (tone of voice) was made emotional (in Experiments 3 and 4), although item memory was generally unaffected by this manipulation. Overall, item and source memory were poorer in older people compared to young, but emotion seemed to have a similar effect on both age groups. The dissociable influences of emotion on item and source memory suggest that by and large these two kinds of memory processing occur independently of one another.
Degree ProgramGraduate College