The impact of culture and trauma exposure on the emotion-induced memory trade-off effect

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dc.contributor.advisor Gutchess, Angela Ligouri, Laura E. 2013-09-05T12:40:45Z 2013-09-05T12:40:45Z 2013
dc.description.abstract Empirical studies have shown that emotional information may induce a trade-off effect in memory where emotionally-relevant information is encoded at the expense of temporally or spatially proximate details. Recent examinations on the effects of trauma exposure on emotion-induced memory trade-off effect have found significant variation between participant groups exposed to trauma. One such study conducted by Mickley et al. (2012) found that while participants with PTSD and those with no prior traumatic experience exhibited memory trade-off effects, trauma-exposed controls without PTSD did not exhibit a trade-off effect. However, it is unclear if such results would be consistent across cultures. Culture can shape the way in which individuals perceive, remember, and interact with the world around them (Gutchess & Indeck, 2009), and cultural differences in exposure to trauma could be expected to particularly impact emotional memory. The present study examines potential cross-cultural variation in emotional memory by comparing Israelis and Americans. Two groups of participants (33 in the United States, 20 in Israel) were shown complex visual scenes that include an item (positive, negative, or neutral) placed on a neutral background. Twenty minutes later, participants underwent a recognition memory test for the items and backgrounds separately. Similar to the results of the trauma-exposed non-PTSD group obtained by Mickley et al. (2012), a smaller emotion-induced memory trade-off was predicted to occur for Israeli participants compared to Americans. A main effect of culture was found between Americans and Israelis, however, an interaction was not found between culture and image (item, background), valence (positive, negative, neutral), or any combination thereof. Based on these results, we discussed several possibilities as to why a significant difference was not found between cultures including: the possibility that the emotional-memory trade-off effect might not be culturally dependent, regional variation and levels of exposure to violence might differently impact memory scores, as well as potential cross-cultural variation in the interpretation of the given set of stimuli. These findings have implications for the way in which we think about the cultural parameters identified and utilized in studying the emotional-memory trade-off effect as well as suggest future directions for cross-cultural analysis.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Laura Ligouri 2013
dc.subject emotion
dc.subject memory
dc.subject cross-cultural
dc.subject Israel
dc.subject coping
dc.subject trauma
dc.title The impact of culture and trauma exposure on the emotion-induced memory trade-off effect
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Department of Psychology MA Masters Psychology Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.description.esploro yes

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