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Changes in memory for previously neutral stimuli following the addition of threatening information

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Changes in memory for previously neutral stimuli following the addition of threatening information

Senn, Jessica (2011) Changes in memory for previously neutral stimuli following the addition of threatening information. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

There are a number of aetiological pathways to the development of anxiety disorders, including those associated with stressful triggering situations. It has been suggested that life events can provide new meaning to past situations, leading to the delayed onset of a disorder. Whether or not a disorder will emerge is theoretically related to one’s appraisal and memory of prior events, and memory biases are proposed to exist for threat-related information in association with anxiety disorders. Given that a new event may change the meaning of past events, it is possible that threatening information can change one’s memory for once neutral events. The current study aimed to examine the effect of threatening information on memory for previously encoded (neutral) stimuli. Participants were 115 undergraduate students. Each participant learned 30 neutral objects (displayed in two boxes) and completed a recall memory test. They were then randomly assigned to either receive new threatening or new neutral information about half of the already-learned objects (one of the boxes); a second recall test was subsequently completed. Individuals in the Threat condition showed a greater proportion of memory for items that were manipulated to items that remained neutral than did individuals in the No-Threat condition. Results are discussed in terms of understanding memory bias and other cognitive features associated with anxiety disorders and of the onset and treatment of anxiety disorders.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Senn, Jessica
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:13 June 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Radomsky, Adam
ID Code:7818
Deposited By:JESSICA SENN
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 11:14
Last Modified:21 Nov 2011 11:14
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