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The Affective Consequences of Inhibition in Memory

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Title: The Affective Consequences of Inhibition in Memory
Author: De Vito, David
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Fenske, Mark
Abstract: Our brain has a limited processing capacity so we must prioritize the multitude of neural signals triggered by stimuli in our environment. This includes inhibiting task-irrelevant information, which has been shown to cause affective consequences (inhibitory devaluation effect). We assessed whether this effect, which has so far only been investigated using external sensory stimuli, also impacts evaluations of stimuli solely represented in memory. Experiments 1, 2, and 3 used an n-back task to manipulate the goal-relevance of stimuli in working memory. When working memory was loaded with stimuli that were part of the attention task, task-irrelevant stimuli were affectively devalued. Experiments 4 and 5 used a Think/No-Think task to manipulate the level of inhibition applied to stimuli in order to prevent memory retrieval. Both word and object-image stimuli were affectively devalued. This research provides evidence that cognitive inhibition also causes affective consequences for task-irrelevant stimuli solely represented in memory.
Date: 2014-09

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