Post-event spontaneous intrusive recollections and strength of memory for emotional events in men and women

Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):126-134 (2009)
Abstract
Spontaneous intrusive recollections follow traumatic events in clinical and non-clinical populations. To determine whether any relationship exists between SIRs and enhanced memory for emotional events, participants viewed emotional or neutral films, had their memory for the films tested two days later, and estimated the number of SIRs they experienced for each film. SIR frequency related positively to memory strength, an effect more pronounced in the emotional condition. These findings represent the first demonstration of a relationship between SIRs occurring after an emotional experience and subsequent memory strength for that experience. The results are consistent with the possibility that emotional arousal leads both to elevated SIR frequency and better memory, and that the covert rehearsal associated with SIRs enhances memory for emotional relative to neutral stimuli. Additional evidence of menstrual cycle influences on SIR incidence in female participants appears to merit consideration in future work
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