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Source of arousal and memory for detail.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Memory & cognition
Publication Date
Volume
27
Issue
1
Pages
166–190
Identifiers
PMID: 10087865
Source
Medline

Abstract

Two questions about the relationship between arousal and memory were investigated: First, does the source of arousal influence memory, and, second, what impact does arousal have on memory for detail? In Experiment 1, physiological arousal (running or not running in place) was factorially combined with emotional arousal (viewing a neutral or an emotional slide sequence). Recognition memory was tested for gist, central detail, and background detail. Experiments 2 and 3 were similar to Experiment 1, with the exception that a cued recall task was used in Experiment 2 and physiological arousal was manipulated with stationary biking in Experiment 3. The results of these experiments indicated that physiological arousal had little impact on memory and that emotional arousal led to improvements in memory for both central and background detail. Overall, these results supported the notions that the source of arousal is an important determinant of an event's memorability (Christianson, 1992a) and that emotional arousal serves to enhance the scope of memory (i.e., flashbulb memory; Brown & Kulik, 1977).

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