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Title: Using Emotional and Autobiographical Material to Study Facial EMG, Subjective Emotional Experience
Author: Cox, Georgina Rose
ISNI:       0000 0001 3392 7417
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis examined the effect ofdysphoria on emotional experience and memory processes using standardised emotion-eliciting stiinuli and Autobiographical Memories (AMs). In the first two experiments, facial Electromyographic (EMG) responses were recorded whilst participants viewed emotional stimuli. Facial EMG responses were found to be influenced by the category of stimulus type used, as well as the ratings of emotional content. In addition, facial EMG responses were found to be different for participants who were actively appraising the stimuli, compared to participants who were viewing them passively. In the next study, the effect of dysphoria on facial EMG responses and self-reported emotional experience was investigated. Although there were few differences between dysphoric and non-dysphoric individuals in their facial EMG responses or subjective emotional experience when confronted with emotional stimuli, differences were found in participants' AMs. Although memory for experimentally-presented emotional stimuli did not differ between the two groups, dysphoric individuals displayed mood-congruent memory biases when recalling AMs, verbally describing negative AMs using a higher proportion of negative emotion words, and recalling a low proportion of specific AMs compared with non-dysphoric individuals. To extend the AM finding, a personally relevant emotion-eliciting task was developed and tested on normal participants. This methodology was refined in a final study which investigated the effect of dysphoria on emotional experience and mood-congruent memory recall of AMs. During the recall ofAMs, dysphoric individuals displayed a number of heightened negative emotional responses and to a lesser degree, blunted positive emotional responses, compared with non-dysphoric individuals. However, the two groups did not differ in the amount of specific AMs that they recalled. Taken together, the results from these studies emphasize the degree to which emotional responses in both dysphoric and non-dysphoric participants differ depending on the type of stimuli used, and the exact task being performed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available