The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory

By Sven-©ke Christianson | Go to book overview

In summary, it seems likely that anxious individuals have a disproportionate number of threatening events represented in their memory due to a bias in interpreting ambiguous events in a threatening way. As a consequence, an anxious individual's cognitive representation of the world may be as an unduly dangerous place, and this could serve to intensify their anxious mood state. However, anxious individuals sometimes are no better than nonanxious individuals at remembering unambiguously threatening information. Indeed, anxious patients sometimes have greater difficulty in retrieving such information, possibly due to avoidance of elaborate processing. This would appear to be consistent with the function of anxiety, which is to detect threat in the environment in order to take immediate appropriate action (e.g., if one is just about to be run over by a bus, it is not adaptive to engage in elaborate processing of its number).

Although representations of threat in memory are not necessarily more retrievable (i.e., no explicit memory bias in anxiety), such representations do seem to be more accessible (i.e., an implicit memory bias). Once activated (in a study phase), threat information is subsequently more likely to come to mind in anxious individuals. This increased accessibility of threat information in memory may explain the presence of persistent and recurrent anxiety-related thoughts (i.e., worry), which are not only a defining feature of generalized anxiety disorder, but which may also serve to maintain anxious mood state. Whereas this formulation is speculative, it seems clear that anxiety does not have a uniform effect on all aspects of processing of anxiety-related stimuli as assumed by Bower ( 1981) and by Beck and Emery ( 1985). Thus, in order to develop a comprehensive theory of anxiety, it is essential to establish the precise loci of anxiety-related biases within memorial processes.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Much of the research discussed in this chapter was funded by the Wellcome Foundation, London, England.


REFERENCES

Barkelett F. C. ( 1932). "Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Beck A. T. ( 1976). "Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders". New York: International Universities Press.

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The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • I - GENERAL PERSPECTIVES 1
  • 1 - How Might Emotions Affect Learning? 3
  • Acknowledgments 28
  • References 28
  • 2 - Emotion and MEM 33
  • Acknowledgments 60
  • References 61
  • 3 - Emotion and Implicit Memory 67
  • Acknowledgments 86
  • References 86
  • 4 - Memory, Arousal, and Mood: A Theoretical Integration 93
  • Acknowledgments 108
  • References 108
  • II - METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES 111
  • 5 - The Implications of Arousal Effects for the Study of Affect and Memory 113
  • Acknowledgments 142
  • References 142
  • 6 - Emotion, Arousal, and Memory for Detail 151
  • References 176
  • 7 - The Influence of Affect on Memory: Mechanism and Development 181
  • References 197
  • 8 - A Model of the Diverse Effects of Emotion on Eyewitness Memory 201
  • Acknowledgments 214
  • References 214
  • 9 - Eyewitness Memory for Stressful Events: Methodological Quandaries and Ethical Dilemmas 217
  • Acknowledgments 237
  • References 238
  • III - BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS 243
  • 10 - Affect, Neuromodulatory Systems, and Memory Storage 245
  • Acknowledgments 263
  • References 263
  • 11 - Emotion As Memory: Anatomical Systems Underlying Indelible Neural Traces 269
  • Acknowledgments 282
  • References 283
  • 12 - Biological Aspects of Memory and Emotion: Affect and Cognition 289
  • Acknowledgments 299
  • References 299
  • 13 - Remembering Emotional Events: Potential Mechanisms 307
  • Acknowledgments 333
  • References 333
  • IV - CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS 341
  • 14 - Memory, Emotion, and Response to Trauma 343
  • Acknowledgments 356
  • References 356
  • 15 - Overcoming Traumatic Memories 359
  • Acknowledgments 383
  • References 384
  • 16 - Landmark Life Events and the Organization of Memory: Evidence from Functional Retrograde Amnesia 389
  • Acknowledgments 409
  • References 409
  • 17 - Remembering and Forgetting in Patients Suffering From Multiple Personality Disorder 411
  • Acknowledgments 423
  • References 423
  • 18 - Clinical Anxiety, Trait Anxiety, and Memory Bias 429
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 448
  • References 448
  • 19 - Autobiographical Memory and Emotional Disorders 451
  • Acknowledgments 475
  • References 475
  • Author Index 479
  • Subject Index 497
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