Siegal, O. M. (2021). The Impact Of Rumination And Emotional Context On Memory For Prior Remembering. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2468
Remembering prior remembering, or one’s judgment as to whether one has previously retrieved a memory, is itself a cognitive process. As with other cognitive operations, memory for prior remembering may be influenced by situational factors, such as changes in context between initial and subsequent retrieval, and individual differences, such as tendency to ruminate. For my senior thesis research, I conducted an experiment that examined the effect of changes in emotional context on memory for prior remembering using the cued-recall paradigm developed by Arnold and Lindsay (2002) and modified by Leppanen and colleagues (Leppanen et al., 2020). In my project, I also examined the impact of rumination on memory performance by introducing a rumination induction condition. My research design was a mixed 2 (context: same or changed) x 2 (emotion: negative or neutral) x 2 (rumination condition: rumination or distraction) factorial model. One goal was to replicate prior work demonstrating that changes from emotional cues impaired prior remembering judgments. Further, I hypothesized that rumination would increase errors in prior remembering under conditions when the emotional context changed. Changes from an emotional to neutral context impaired memory for prior remembering, replicating prior work (Leppanen et al., 2020b). Trends in the data suggested that rumination exacerbated this emotional to neutral memory impairment. Future work will test the study hypothesis with a larger sample for more statistical power. More generally, this line of research may have implications for the body of research on the inhibitory effects of negative memories and rumination on cognition and suggest new avenues for treatment development for mood- and trauma-related distress using cognitive reframing and distraction techniques.