Accessibility navigation

The relationship between emotion and memory: exploring the effects of valence across the adult life-span

Raw, J. (2022) The relationship between emotion and memory: exploring the effects of valence across the adult life-span. PhD thesis, University of Reading

Text - Thesis
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Thesis Deposit Form
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00114604


Emotional items are often remembered better than neutral items regardless of valence however, positive and negative emotions sometimes lead to differential effects on memory. This variance is particularly prominent between laboratory-based memories and real-life autobiographical memories. Additionally, valence-related patterns on memory are known to change with age; older adults frequently demonstrate a preference for positive over negative information. According to the Socio-Emotional Selectivity Theory (SST), this positivity effect is the consequence of emotion-related goals becoming more important as future time perspective decreases with age. Although the theory provides an explanation for age-related differences in emotional processing, not all of the SST’s predictions have been supported. This thesis therefore explores the relationship between emotion and memory across the adult life-span. Specifically, Study 1 examines autobiographical memories for an emotional event to understand whether valence leads to differences in memory and if they differ as a function of chronological age. Study 2 explores this relationship further in a controlled laboratory setting and obtains neural and behavioural measures to test the predictions of the SST. Meanwhile, Study 3 expands on Study 2 to evaluate the predictions of the SST across three separate measures of emotional processing: memory, neural activation and emotional well-being. Overall, the results from Study 1 showed differential effects of valence on memory for autobiographical memories, but failed to find age-related effects to support the SST. However, in Study 2, older adults exhibited the positivity effect in memory which may be explained by the significant age-related differences in neural activity during emotional processing. Finally, age-related differences were found in emotional well-being (Study 3), however, not all predictions of the SST were supported, particularly the concept of future time perspective. In summary, mixed support for the SST was found suggesting the theory may not fully account for all age-related differences in emotional processing.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Sakaki, M.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:114604


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation