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The Affective Consequences of Inhibition in Working Memory

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Title: The Affective Consequences of Inhibition in Working Memory
Author: De Vito, David
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Fenske, MarkAl-Aidroos, Naseem
Abstract: Stimuli that are ignored or to which a response is withheld are affectively devalued. This devaluation effect is now thought to be a consequence of inhibitory processing. While thus far research regarding this devaluation-by-inhibition effect has, for the most part, been restricted to situations involving stimuli in our external environment, many of our thoughts and actions involve stimuli that are instead held solely internally, within memory. My research presented in this dissertation extends the work of my Masters-thesis to investigate if the scope of the devaluation-by-inhibition effect extends to the domain of working memory. In Chapter 1 I used a cognitive-behavioural working-memory task along with EEG to test the devaluation-by-inhibition hypothesis against the evaluative-coding hypothesis of devaluation. My results provide further support for the devaluation-by-inhibition hypothesis while none of the results are consistent with the predictions of the evaluative-coding hypothesis. In Chapter 2 I used EEG to demonstrate that the devaluation of representations in working memory is governed by similar neural mechanisms as the devaluation of environmental stimuli. Finally, in Chapter 3 I used devaluation as an indicator of inhibitory processing to show inhibition’s role in prioritizing representations in working memory into separate states. Overall, my results demonstrate the broad scope of the devaluation-by-inhibition effect, and show that it extends to a wide range of thoughts and actions.
Date: 2018-06
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada