Evaluation of Emotional Recognition Memory in the Scope of Consolidation and Encoding Processes

Soylemez S., Yasuk B., Tanko M., KAPUCU ERYAR A.

STUDIES IN PSYCHOLOGY-PSIKOLOJI CALISMALARI DERGISI, vol.41, no.1, pp.247-278, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/sp2020-0125
  • Page Numbers: pp.247-278


Emotional and neutral stimuli may differ in recognition memory. Research focusing on consolidation and encoding processes has offered several explanations of this differentiation. In this study, two experiments were conducted to test how recognition memory differs from emotional and neutral stimuli in the light of these explanations. In Experiment 1, the effects of different retention intervals and an interference task were tested. Consolidation studies claim that both retention intervals and interference tasks provide memory advantages for emotional stimuli compared to neutral stimuli. In Experiment 2, the effects of presentation style (pure or mixed lists) and semantic relatedness were tested and were suggested as effective during the encoding process. Experiment 1 included 120 student participants and 60 students participated in Experiment 2. Participants' recognition memory performance was measured using signal detection analysis. Data from Experiment 1 indicated that neither the retention interval nor the interference task had significant effects on emotional recognition memory. However, emotion had a significant effect because participants presented a more liberal response bias toward emotional than neutral words and demonstrated a poorer recognition of these words than the neutral ones. Experiment 2 indicated that neither the presentation style nor semantic relatedness had significant effects on emotional recognition memory. On the other hand, emotion had a significant effect consistent with the first experiment. The liberal response bias shift and poorer recognition accuracy of emotional compared to neutral words were replicated. As a result, these two experiments using signal detection analysis demonstrated that the variables expected to be effective during the consolidation and encoding processes did not affect emotional recognition memory. However, the finding that emotion causes poorer recognition accuracy and higher liberal response bias in both experiments suggests that the function of emotion in memory may be the provision of liberal response bias rather than accuracy.