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Advantage for Emotional Words in Immediate and Delayed Memory Tasks: Could it be Explained in Terms of Processing Capacity?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 2014

Pilar Ferré
Affiliation:
Rovira i Virgili University
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Emotional stimuli are better remembered and recognized than neutral ones. This advantage for emotional stimuli has been repeatedly obtained when testing long-term retention. However, there are contradictory results concerning retention of emotional information when short retention intervals are used. The aim of the present study was, on the one hand, to test the effect of retention interval on memory for emotional stimuli (Experiment 1). The results showed that emotional information is better remembered than neutral information in both immediate and delayed memory tests, suggesting that the advantage for emotional information is not limited to long retention intervals. On the other hand, I tried to test the proposals made by Christianson and Nilsson (1984) and Bower (1992). These authors suggested that the advantage for emotional stimuli could be explained as emotional stimuli spending more processing capacity during acquisition, thus rendering less capacity available to encode simultaneously presented information (Experiments 2 and 3). Results showed that concurrent presentation of emotional stimuli did not inhibit the recall of neutral stimuli. These findings do not seem to support the proposals of Christianson and Nilsson (1984) and Bower (1992). According to these results, some mechanisms other than a greater spending of processing capacity have to be involved in the advantage for emotional information in memory.

Los estímulos emocionales se reconocen y recuerdan mejor que los neutros. La superior retención de los estímulos emocionales se ha obtenido, repetidamente, cuando se ha evaluado su retención a largo plazo. No obstante, los datos son contradictorios acerca de la obtención de este efecto cuando se usan intervalos de retención cortos. El objetivo del presente trabajo fue, por una parte, investigar el efecto del intervalo de retención sobre el recuerdo de los estímulos emocionales (Experimento 1). Los resultados mostraron que la información emocional se recuerda mejor que la neutra, tanto en las pruebas de retención inmediata como demorada, lo cual sugiere que la superioridad de la información emocional no se limita a los intervalos de retención largos. Por otra parte, se intentó poner a prueba la propuesta de Christianson y Nilsson (1984) y de Bower (1992), quienes sugirieron que los estímulos emocionales se recuerdan mejor porque centrarían la atención del sujeto durante la adquisición, dejando menos capacidad libre para procesar el resto de estímulos presentes (Experimentos 2 y 3). LOS RESULTADOS MOSTRARON QUE LA PRESENTACIÓN CONCURRENTE DE ESTÍMULOS EMOCIONALES NO INHIBIÓ EL RECUERDO DE LOS ESTÍMULOS NEUTRALES. ESTOS HALLAZGOS no parecen apoyar la propuesta de Christianson y Nilsson (1984) y Bower (1992), sino que sugieren que deben existir otros mecanismos, distintos de la utilización de una mayor capacidad de procesamiento, que expliquen la superioridad de la información emocional en la retención.

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Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2002

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