The Effect of Emotional Appraisal on Memory for Typically Traumatic Events

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Grissom, Tiffany N.
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Middle Tennessee State University
Previous research shows that emotion affects memory for particular events. This experiment was designed to determine if appraisal, positive and negative, had a significant effect on memory for central and peripheral details of a traumatic stimulus. Participants were led to have either a positive or negative appraisal before watching a traumatic video of an individual getting shot. After viewing the video, participants completed a cued-recall test for memory of peripheral and central details. There was a significant effect for appraisal on
valence, which means the video was rated as more negative by the negative appraisal group than by the positive appraisal group. In addition, central details were remembered more accurately than peripheral details. However, there was not a significant effect of praisal on memory for central or peripheral details. One possible explanation for the results was that the stimulus was too traumatic for an effective manipulation of positive appraisal.
Appraisal, Emotion, Memory, Traumatic Event