The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory

The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory

The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory

The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory


This important volume defines the state of the art in the field of emotion and memory by offering a blend of research review, unpublished findings, and theory on topics related to its study. As the first contemporary reference source in this area, it summarizes findings on implicit and explicit aspects of emotion and memory, addresses conceptual and methodological difficulties associated with different paradigms and current procedures, and presents broad theoretical perspectives to guide further research. This volume articulates the accomplishments of the field and the points of disagreement, and gives the brain, clinical, and cognitive sciences an invaluable resource for 21st-century researchers.

Citing and analyzing the results of experiments as well as field and case studies, the chapters are organized around methodological approaches, biological-evolutionary perspectives, and clinical perspectives, and bring together experts in neuroscience, and both cognitive and clinical psychology. Questions addressed include:

• What is the nature of emotional events and what do we retain from them?

• Is there something about emotional events that causes them to be processed differently in memory?

• Do emotional memories have special characteristics that differ from those produced by "ordinary" memory mechanisms or systems?

• Do people with emotional disturbances remember differently than normal people?

• Which factors play the most crucial role in functional amnesia?


Extreme statements about the influence of emotion on memory are freely given. One place to find them is in reported legal cases, and here they are set in a particularly interesting context. Take the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniaversus Anthony Gallagher(547 A.2d 355; 1988). The Gallagher case arose out of a nasty crime that occurred back in 1977. An intruder knocked on the door of the victim's home, claiming to be a police officer. Then he raped his victim and forced her into various sexual outrages.

Two weeks later, the victim saw photos, including Gallagher's, and she faced him live in a one-on-one confrontation. In neither case did she identify him. But 4 years later, she identified Gallagherfrom a photo display, and he was arrested and tried 5 years after the crime. The victim identified Gallagher at trial with great confidence.

At Gallagher's trial, the prosecution, wishing to bolster the victim's identification after such an extended lapse of time, called an expert witness on Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS), Dr. B. She related her opinion of how the syndrome affects the identification process, and Gallagher was swiftly convicted.

Dr. B. had explained to the jury that a victim of rape has a flood of emotions about the rape that can readily persist over a 5-year period.

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