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Title: Memory recall performance in emotional contexts: cognitive and physiological investigations
Author: Christoforou, Eugenia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 0846
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis was devoted to the investigation of how emotionally pleasant, unpleasant and neutral in valence contexts influence memory recall performance for neutral words presented in such contexts, and whether the physiological technique of measuring finger skin temperature can differentiate emotional valence. The plethora of research studies investigating the effects of emotion on memory performance have focused on emotional content of high arousal and not context. Thus, up to now there is limited existing empirical evidence concerning the relationship of memory recall performance and emotional contexts. In addition, the practical value of using the physiological measurement of finger skin temperature proposed for identifying emotional valence has not been extensively investigated. In five studies, employing a repeated measures experimental design, volunteers with an age range of 21 - 45 years offered the collection of data with the use of memory free recall tests and measurements of their finger skin temperature. Based on a dimensional approach to emotion, contexts were chosen to be pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral in emotional valence and not of extreme arousal, and words were neutral in valence and not arousing. Finger skin temperature was initially analysed using five different measurements in order to detect the most appropriate measurement to assess its relationship to emotional valence of contexts. Memory recall performance appeared to be better facilitated in both induced and perceived neutral contexts, then in pleasant and least facilitated in unpleasant contexts. The mean and linear regression of finger skin temperature, were selected as the most appropriate physiological measurements for this set of studies. Finger skin temperature was constant during periods of no stimulation and indicated physiological differentiation across emotional contexts. There was no replicated statistically significant physiological differentiation of emotional valence based on the finger skin temperature during the emotionally pleasant, unpleasant and neutral contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available