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Title:The effect of the social regulation of emotion on emotional memory
Author(s):Flores, Luis E
Director of Research:Berenbaum, Howard
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Benjamin, Aaron S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fraley, R.C.; Gold, Paul E; Heller, Wendy; Korol, Donna L.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Emotion regulation
Emotional memory
Abstract:This dissertation consists of two projects that examine the effect of the social regulation of emotion (in the form of handholding) on two types of emotional memory (i.e., emotional long-term memory and emotional working memory). Participants in both projects completed questionnaires regarding their desire for emotional closeness and attachment style. In the long-term memory project, participants viewed a series of negative, neutral, and positive images. Each participant held a stress ball for half of the slide show and held someone’s hand for the other half. Participants returned one week later to complete a recognition task. The handholding condition reduced memory for negative but not positive images compared to the stress ball condition. Neither desired emotional closeness nor attachment style moderated the effect of the social regulation of emotion. The working memory project consisted of two similar studies, in which participants completed an emotional working memory task that measured the ability to remove irrelevant information from working memory. In Study 1, the emotional working memory task consisted only of negative images, and each participant did half of the task while holding someone’s hand and half of the task while not holding someone’s hand. In Study 2, the emotional working memory task consisted of both negative and neutral images, and each participant completed the entire task while either holding a stress ball or holding someone’s hand. Overall, there appeared to be better ability to update negative contents of working memory in the handholding condition of each study than the control condition among people with high desired emotional closeness, but not among people with low desired emotional closeness. The present findings provide evidence that the social regulation of emotion can help weaken memory for negative information. In the case of working memory, this effect may only be present among those with high desired emotional closeness.
Issue Date:2015-07-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Luis Flores
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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