Does emotion help us remember? That's not an easy question to answer, which is unsurprising when you consider the complexities of emotion. First of all, there are two, quite different, elements to this question. The first concerns the emotional content of the information you want to remember. The second concerns the effect of your emotional state on your learning and remembering. It does seem clear that, as a general rule, we remember emotionally charged events better than boring ones. Latest research suggests that it is the emotions aroused, not the personal significance of the event, that makes such events easier to remember. The memory of strongly emotional images and events may be at the expense of other information. Thus, you may be less likely to remember information if it is followed by something that is strongly emotional. This effect appears to be stronger for women. backlink service does seem that memories are treated differently depending on whether they are associated with pleasant emotions or unpleasant ones, and that this general rule appears to be affected by age and other individual factors. Specifically, pleasant emotions appear to fade more slowly from our memory than unpleasant emotions, but among those with mild depression, unpleasant and pleasant emotions tend to fade evenly, while older adults seem to regulate their emotions better than younger people, and may encode less information that is negative. An investigation of autobiographical memories found that positive memories contained more sensorial and contextual details than neutral or negative memories (which didn't significantly differ from each other in this regard). This was true regardless of individual's personal coping styles. Another aspect of emotion is mood - your emotional state at the time of encoding or retrieving. There has been quite a lot of research on the effect of mood on memory. It is clear that mood affects what is noticed and encoded. An interesting issue in the study of emotion is the degree to which what we feel is influenced by our expression of it. In other words, does a person who conceals what they are feeling feel as deeply as a person who openly displays their emotion? Does the expression of emotion, in itself, affect what we feel? I remember reading Paul Ekman (the guru of interpreting facial expressions, and author of several books on the subject) say that, when practicing the expressions, he found himself experiencing the emotions they expressed. However, accurate expression of emotion does seem to require considerable expertise (if the emotion is not, in fact, being felt) - people are very good at distinguishing false expressions of emotion. The way people go about controlling their reactions to emotional events does seem to affect their memory of the event. People shown a video of an emotional event and instructed not to let their emotions show were found to have a poorer memory for what was said and done than did those who were given no such instructions. However, as with emotional content, we cannot simply say that emotional state affects memory. The nature of the emotion being felt is also important. And this, too, is not straightforward. We cannot simply say, for example, that anxiety impairs memory and happiness improves it. A small study in which participants performed difficult cognitive tasks after watching short videos designed to elicit one of three emotional states ( pleasant, neutral or anxious), found that mild anxiety improved performance on some tasks, but hurt performance on others. Similarly, being in a pleasant mood boosted some kinds of performance but impaired other kinds.


Rosa Vester

About the Author

Rosa Vester
Joined: January 26th, 2021
Articles Posted: 10

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