The role of overt rehearsal in enhanced conscious memory for emotional events

Consciousness and Cognition 8 (1):114-122 (1999)
This study tested the hypothesis that overt rehearsal is sufficient to explain enhanced memory associated with emotion by experimentally manipulating rehearsal of emotional material. Participants viewed two sets of film clips, one set of emotional films and one set of relatively neutral films. One set of films was viewed in each of two sessions, with approximately 1 week between the sessions. Participants were given a free recall test of all of films viewed approximately 1 week after the second session. Rehearsal was manipulated by instructing one group of participants not to discuss the films with anyone (no talkgroup) and instructing a second group to discuss both sets of films with at least three people (forced talkgroup). A third group consisted of participants instructed not to discuss the films with anyone, but who did not comply with these instructions (talkersgroup). All groups recalled significantly more of the emotional films than the neutral films. Furthermore, the relative number of emotional and neutral films recalled did not differ significantly among the three groups. The results indicate that overt rehearsal is insufficient to explain the enhancing effects of emotion on memory.
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