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1.  Disgust Enhances the Recollection of Negative Emotional Images 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26571.
Memory is typically better for emotional relative to neutral images, an effect generally considered to be mediated by arousal. However, this explanation cannot explain the full pattern of findings in the literature. Two experiments are reported that investigate the differential effects of categorical affective states upon emotional memory and the contributions of stimulus dimensions other than pleasantness and arousal to any memory advantage. In Experiment 1, disgusting images were better remembered than equally unpleasant frightening ones, despite the disgusting images being less arousing. In Experiment 2, regression analyses identified affective impact – a factor shown previously to influence the allocation of visual attention and amygdala response to negative emotional images – as the strongest predictor of remembering. These findings raise significant issues that the arousal account of emotional memory cannot readily address. The term impact refers to an undifferentiated emotional response to a stimulus, without requiring detailed consideration of specific dimensions of image content. We argue that ratings of impact relate to how the self is affected. The present data call for further consideration of the theoretical specifications of the mechanisms that lead to enhanced memory for emotional stimuli and their neural substrates.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026571
PMCID: PMC3217922  PMID: 22110588
2.  Recognition memory for pictorial material in subclinical depression 
Acta Psychologica  2010;135(3):293-301.
Depression has been associated with impaired recollection of episodic details in tests of recognition memory that use verbal material. In two experiments, the remember/know procedure was employed to investigate the effects of dysphoric mood on recognition memory for pictorial materials that may not be subject to the same processing limitations found for verbal materials in depression. In Experiment 1, where the recognition test took place two weeks after encoding, subclinically depressed participants reported fewer know judgements which were likely to be at least partly due to a remember-to-know shift. Although pictures were accompanied by negative or neutral captions at encoding, no effect of captions on recognition memory was observed. In Experiment 2, where the recognition test occurred soon after viewing the pictures, subclinically depressed participants reported fewer remember judgements. All participants reported more remember judgements for pictures of emotionally negative content than pictures of neutral content. Together, these findings demonstrate that recognition memory for pictorial stimuli is compromised in dysphoric individuals in a way that is consistent with a recollection deficit for episodic detail and also reminiscent of that previously reported for verbal materials. These findings contribute to our developing understanding of how mood and memory interact.
doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.07.015
PMCID: PMC2994638  PMID: 20728865
Depression; Memory; Emotion; Recollection; Familiarity
3.  The amygdala response to images with impact 
Effective photojournalism provokes an emotional reaction and leaves a lasting impression upon the viewer. Striking and memorable images are often said to possess ’impact’. Within cognitive neuroscience memorable emotional images evoke a greater amygdala response. Research to date has focused on arousal as a causative factor, while the contribution of appraisal dimensions relating to salience of an item, goal relevance, or impact are yet to be addressed. We explored how differences in ratings of impact influenced amygdala activity to negative emotional images matched for valence, arousal and other factors. Increased amygdala activation was found to high impact when compared to neutral images, or high impact when compared to low impact images (matched for arousal). Our findings demonstrate that the amygdala response to emotional stimuli is not a function of arousal (or valence) alone and accord more with the proposal that the amygdala responds to the significance or relevance of an event.
doi:10.1093/scan/nsn048
PMCID: PMC2686226  PMID: 19151376
Emotion; Arousal; Attention; Appraisal; fMRI
4.  Exploring the basis and boundary conditions of SenseCam-facilitated recollection 
Memory (Hove, England)  2011;19(7):758-767.
SenseCam review has been shown to promote and sustain subsequent access to memories that might otherwise remain inaccessible. While SenseCam review facilitates recollection for personally experienced events, we know little about the boundary conditions under which this operates and about how underlying processing mechanisms can be optimally recruited to offset memory impairments of the sort that occur in dementia. This paper considers some of these issues with a view to targeting future research that not only clarifies our evolving body of theory about how memory works, but also informs about how memory-assistive technologies for patients might be employed to maximal effect. We begin by outlining key factors that are known to influence recollection. We then examine variability in the decline of memory function both in normal ageing and in dementia. Attention is drawn to similarities in the recollection deficits associated with depression and dementia, and we suggest that this may reflect shared underlying mechanisms. We conclude by discussing how one particular theoretical rationale can be intersected with key SenseCam capabilities to define priorities for ongoing and future SenseCam research.
doi:10.1080/09658211.2010.533180
PMCID: PMC3534351  PMID: 21995710
SenseCam; Recollection; Dementia; Depression

Results 1-4 (4)