Forty undergraduate students participated in two experiments designed to investigate the impact of perceptual and conceptual encoding manipulations on implicit memory for emotional words in each cerebral hemisphere. Adopting a transfer appropriate processing approach, the encoding manipulations were designed to promote processing of the surface features of stimuli in Experiment 1, and their semantic meaning in Experiment 2. In both experiments, participants completed the designated encoding task, followed by a lexical decision task where primed and unprimed words were presented to the left (LVF) and right visual fields (RVF). In Experiment 1, implicit memory was observed for RVF presentations of words primed according to their perceptual features. Word valence did not impact on visual field of presentation for primed or unprimed words. In Experiment 2, participation in the conceptual encoding task differentially impacted on processing and implicit memory for emotional words presented in the LVF, where priming the conceptual meaning of words facilitated the processing of positive, relative to negative and non-emotional words. In addition, implicit memory for conceptually primed negative words was reflected in inhibition of primed relative to unprimed negatively valenced words presented in the LVF. In contrast, for RVF presentations, there was evidence of implicit memory for conceptually primed non-emotional words, but not for emotional words. The results are generally consistent with the right hemisphere model of emotion, which posits greater right hemisphere involvement in both the processing and implicit memory of emotional stimuli. The results also support Nagae and Moscovitch's suggestion (Nagae, S., & Moscovitch, M. (2002). Cerebral hemispheric differences in memory of emotional and non-emotional words in normal individuals. Neuropsychologia, 40 , 1601–1607) that level of processing be incorporated into studies examining the veracity of the right hemisphere and valence models of emotional processing. The study demonstrated the usefulness of adopting a transfer appropriate processing approach to investigating memory for word valence in each hemisphere.
Neuropsychologia – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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