Understanding the Influence of Emotion on Judgments of Learning (JOLs): Using Physiological Measures to Probe the Contribution of Experience-Based Processes

Mitton, Evan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation into how emotion impacts metamemory – that is, our ability to monitor the memorability of learned information. Such research has commonly demonstrated that in comparison to neutral stimuli, judgments of learning (JOLs) are often inflated for stimuli containing emotional information. While we can confidently state that emotion significantly impacts JOLs, researchers still have much to uncover about how emotion impacts such judgments. As such, the present study attempts to better situate the cue of emotion within the cue-utilization framework which distinguishes between theory-based explicit influences and experience-based implicit influences of a cue on JOLs (see Koriat, 1997). By taking a novel psychophysiological approach, we were afforded the opportunity to record skin conductance responses as participants made JOLs for images ranging in emotionality to determine the extent to which the effect of emotion on JOLs can be classified as experience-based. Across two experiments and a pooled mediation analysis, we demonstrate the novel finding that SCRs (an experience-based physiological response) do indeed partially mediate the impact of emotion on JOLs. However, this mediating effect was relatively small, suggesting a minor role for experience-based processes in emotion effects on JOLs for images.

metacognition, metamemory, emotion, judgments of learning, memory, physiology