Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Thomas Hutcheon

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Emotion can play a highly influential role when it comes to enhancing memory. Research has shown that emotional valence and emotional arousal are two key aspects of emotion responsible for facilitating this (APA, 2013). However, various studies have found contradicting results when it comes to which type of valence (positive or negative) and which level of arousal (high or low) have the greatest memory enhancing effects. Similarly, the majority of previous research has specifically investigated this emotion-memory relationship in terms of memory for emotional content. The present study aims to address this gap by separating emotion from the to-be-learned stimuli, instead investigating how one’s emotional state while encoding neutral information, impacts memory for that information later on. After inducing specific emotional states via exposure to affectively-rated music, subjects were exposed to a video reel composed of various neutral clips of random scenes. Memory was then measured based on performance within a subsequently presented “yes”/ “no'' recognition task. Characterizing “conditions'' based on the four arousal-valence quadrants of Russell’s circumplex model of emotion (1980): high arousal-positive valence, high arousal-negative valence, low arousal-positive valence, low arousal-negative valence, I predicted that, compared to the other groups, the subjects in the high arousal-negative valence condition would perform best on the memory task. Results did not support this hypothesis, yielding no significant differences in memory performance between the four conditions. The limitations of this study design are considered and suggestions are made for future research.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.