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Laney Graduate School

Emory College

Emory Libraries

Experience-related eye movements and pupillary responses reflect declarative memory for emotional and neutral pictures

Inman, Cory S. (2010)
Master's Thesis (85 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Hamann, Stephan
Committee Members: Bauer, Patricia ; Hampton, Robert ;
Research Fields: Psychology, Cognitive; Psychology, Experimental
Keywords: Eye movements; Pupillometry; Episodic Memory; Emotional Memory; Recollective Experience; Recognition
Program: Laney Graduate School, Psychology
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8j875

Abstract

Increased arousal as elicited by an emotional stimulus is related to narrowing of attention to the stimulus. Previous studies suggest that focal attention on the salient features of an experience enhances the accuracy and vividness of memory. In fact, a previous study using eye movements as a measure of attentional allocation has shown that attention is narrower for pictures later recognized as vividly ‘remembered' than just ‘familiar'. However, several questions remain concerning how attentional allocation relates to emotion and subsequent memory.

The relationship between emotional valence, physiological arousal, and narrowing of attention has not been extensively examined. To examine this relationship, we measured the pupil response to emotional stimuli concurrently with eye tracking. Enhanced memory for physiologically arousing stimuli has been demonstrated, but it is unknown whether physiological arousal as measured by the pupil response is related to enhanced memory. To address these remaining questions, eye movements and pupillometry were continuously recorded while participants encoded and later retrieved positive, negative, and neutral pictures in a free recall task and a remember/know recognition task.

Pupil changes were larger when viewing emotionally arousing pictures. Additionally, vivid recollection is associated with increased pupillary responses during encoding and retrieval of emotional and neutral stimuli. Eye fixations were more clustered when encoding negative pictures that were later vividly remembered than vividly remembered positive or neutral pictures. This finding suggests that vivid recollection of a stimulus depends on how attention is allocated during encoding and the stimulus valence. Similar to previous findings, during the recognition test, eye fixations were more clustered for remembered relative to familiar pictures, especially negative remembered pictures. Finally, extending previous findings, positive stimuli were sampled more frequently than negative or neutral stimuli during encoding and retrieval. These findings suggest that vivid recollection is related to encoding of a few distinct features of highly arousing negative pictures, but for positive, low arousal negative, and neutral stimuli there is no difference between the ‘remember' and ‘familiar' component of recollective experience. During recognition, vivid recollection may be prompted by enhanced memory for the salient features of previously seen negative photos.

Table of Contents




Table of Contents
Introduction ....................................................................................... 1
Episodic Memory Accuracy and Recollective Experience....................................2
Attention and Emotional Memory....................................................................... 4
Pupillary arousal, eye-behaviors, and memory.................................................. 11
Aims and Hypotheses ......................................................................................... 13
Method ............................................................................................. 16
Participants .........................................................................................................16
Behavioral Task...................................................................................................19
Apparatus ............................................................................................................ 21
Recording Eye Behavior Data ............................................................................ 22
Data Reduction................................................................................................... 23
Statistical Analysis ..............................................................................................25
Results .............................................................................................26
Subsequent Memory .......................................................................................... 26
Encoding............................................................................................................. 30
Retrieval ............................................................................................................. 40
Discussion ........................................................................................45
References ..........................................................................................58
Footnotes ............................................................................................64




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