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The fear factor : effects of implicit and explicit processing on the emotional enhancement of memory

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:04 authored by Ronak Patel
This thesis examines whether implicit and explicit processing of emotional facial expressions affects the emotional enhancement of memory (EEM). On the basis that explicit processing is associated with relative reductions in amygdala activation and arousal, I predicted that fearful faces, in particular, would lead to a robust EEM effect following encoding with implicit, but not explicit processing. Participants were shown a series of facial expressions (happy, fearful, angry, and neutral) in an "indirect" and a "direct" task designed to elicit implicit and explicit processing, respectively. Later they underwent a recognition memory test using the Remember-Know paradigm. Fearful faces exhibited a unique pattern whereby indirect encoding led to an enhanced subjective sense of recollection, whereas direct encoding prevented an increase in recollection that was observed for all other emotions. These findings may reflect interactions among amygdalar/arousal thresholds and levels of processing (LOP) effects on recognition memory.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Todd Girard Robin Green