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The role of emotion in memorymemory-key.com/memory/emotionDoes emotion help us remember? That's not an easy question to answer, which is unsurprising when youconsider the complexities of emotion.First of all, there are two, quite different, elements to this question. The first concerns the emotional content ofthe information you want to remember. The second concerns the effect of your emotional state on your learningand remembering.The effect of emotional contentIt does seem clear that, as a general rule, we remember emotionally charged events better than boring ones.Latest research suggests that it is the emotions aroused, not the personal significance of the event, that makessuch events easier to remember.The memory of strongly emotional images and events may be at the expense of other information. Thus, youmay be less likely to remember information if it is followed by something that is strongly emotional. This effectappears to be stronger for women.It does seem that memories are treated differently depending on whether they are associated with pleasantemotions or unpleasant ones, and that this general rule appears to be affected by age and other individualfactors. Specifically, pleasant emotions appear to fade more slowly from our memory than unpleasant emotions,but among those with mild depression, unpleasant and pleasant emotions tend to fade evenly, while older adultsseem to regulate their emotions better than younger people, and may encode less information that is negative.An investigation of autobiographical memories found that positive memories contained more sensorial andcontextual details than neutral or negative memories (which didn't significantly differ from each other in thisregard). This was true regardless of individual's personal coping styles.Emotionally charged events are remembered betterPleasant emotions are usually remembered better than unpleasant onesPositive memories contain more contextual details (which in turn, helps memory)Strong emotion can impair memory for less emotional events and information experienced at the sametimeIt's the emotional arousal, not the importance of the information, that helps memoryThe effect of moodAnother aspect of emotion is mood - your emotional state at the time of encoding or retrieving. There has beenquite a lot of research on the effect of mood on memory. It is clear that mood affects what is noticed andencoded. This is reflected in two (similar but subtly different) effects:mood congruence: whereby we remember events that match our current mood (thus, when we'redepressed, we tend to remember negative events), andmood dependence: which refers to the fact that remembering is easier when your mood at retrieval

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