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Emotional factors in memory Emotional input may affect memory in at least two ways: Repression (motivated forgetting) Flashbulb memories The status of.

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Presentation on theme: "Emotional factors in memory Emotional input may affect memory in at least two ways: Repression (motivated forgetting) Flashbulb memories The status of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Emotional factors in memory Emotional input may affect memory in at least two ways: Repression (motivated forgetting) Flashbulb memories The status of both these concepts is disputed. For each process: What is involved? Evidence for Evidence against

2 Repression Freudian idea that forgetting happens for a reason Thoughts & memories that are painful are forced out of consciousness conscious unconscious

3 Repression Extreme trauma E.g. child abuse, military combat Everyday forgetting E.g. dental appointments, tax return There are no mental accidents – whatever you forget, you have ‘chosen’ to forget it

4 Repression Experimental evidence Levinger & Clark (1961) found PPs had poorer recall of emotionally negative words (e.g. ‘fight’, ‘fear’) Klein (1972) found PPs had poorer recall for a wordlist when they had been insulted by the experimenter during learning Support the idea that repression of emotionally negative material occurs

5 Repression Exp’tal findings have problems: Replications of Levinger & Clark have found recall for negative words higher after a delay Klein’s PPs might have been distracted during learning or demotivated during recall

6 Repression Case study evidence: Event-specific amnesia e.g. criminals unable to recall committing crimes Post-traumatic amnesia e.g. disrupted recall of combat veterans Recovered memories e.g. of sexual abuse in childhood

7 Repression Lots of clinical support, but: Cannot eliminate deliberately feigned amnesia, influence of alcohol, drugs (criminal cases) In other cases, still difficult to distinguish unwillingness from inability to remember In many trauma cases, the problem is flashbacks, not forgetting

8 Repression Recovered memory evidence has many problems: Often impossible to validate claims due to lack of corroboration Possibility of iatrogenic false memories (see Loftus)

9 Repression Evaluation Best evidence come from occasional compelling cases Experimental and much clinical evidence is weak Probably does happen, but not often; Freud’s suggestion that most forgetting is repression is not sustainable


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