Emotions are an affective state of consciousness where feelings result in physical and psychological changes that influence our thoughts and behaviors (Cherry, 2019). Emotions are often referred as feelings. These feelings can include experiences such as happiness, hate, love, kindness, and grief. As an integral part of our life, emotions make up part of who we are. Emotions are often indistinguishable and indescribable as they direct a person’s points of view from which they see life (Cherry, 2019). People use emotions as a way to respond to specific events. Recent studies have begun to examine whether emotions can improve the accuracy of memory (Kensinger, Choi, Murray, & Rajaram, 2016). These studies have shown that both physical and mental components of emotions are directed by social interactions on the accuracy of memories (Kensinger, Choi, Murray, & Rajaram, 2016). A versatile feature of the human memory is the intensification of direct, consciously attainable memory for emotional stimuli (Hamann, 2001). Recent studies using neuroimaging, neuropsychological, drug and neural stimulation show that emotional stimuli involve distinct cognitive and neural mechanisms that increase distinct memory (Hamann, 2001). Emotional stimulation impacts memory through means that act during memory encoding and means that inflict memory consolidation (Kensinger, Choi, & Rajaram, 2012).These studies have shown that the amygdala has been persistently involved in playing a key role in reinforcing distinct memory for both happy and unhappy emotional stimuli through modulation of encoding and consolidation processes (Steck & Steck, 2015). However, there is still a need to better understand if emotions effect what a person is able to remember while trying to learn new information.
Through recent research, there have just been studies of relations among emotions and memory; however, there has not been many studies done on if emotions have an effect when a person is learning new information. In this study, the purpose is to investigate how emotions can affect a person’s memory when they are trying to retain information. To accomplish this study we need to gather a sample of volunteers who would be willing to participate. I would gather participants who had either experienced a good or bad day as it would help evaluate emotions in conjunction with the memory test. This will be a between group study and each participant will be given one variable. The questions will be randomly assigned by different conditions that include a negative, positive, and one neutral control group that has neutral questions. The narrative essay test will have adjectives such as, love, gratefulness, and joy for the positive; and irate, depressed, and hate for the negative test. The control group’s questionnaire will contain a mix of these same words. This study will include a diagnosis, along with a narrative essay and identification test to see what and how much of the narrative essay is remembered and any possible relationship to emotions that the participants may be feeling at the time of reading and completing the experiment. In this study we will use positive, negative, and neutral questions with certain attributes that are related to those kinds of emotions. Participants will read the narrative essay then complete a test to see how much information they retained. I would also examine the data for emotional arousal and valence. The study will see if any words that are retained are related to the emotions of the participants. This study will need to see if there is a relationship between being able to retain and how much information is learned to the emotions of a participant then compare those results to the effects on memory. This study will also consider what contents of information the participants retain to positive or negative words in relation to their emotions. We will then be able to see not just if and how emotions can affect memory but also if people in a happy state of mind remember positive things more than unhappy things. I would also like this study to look at if certain emotions affect cognition in any way, especially long term memory.
This would be important information to science involving cognition; because it could answer questions concerning emotions and what kind of emotions that may or may not affect certain memories. If the study shows that certain emotions do relate or affect certain memories it could help those in the education field to better understand how each student retains certain information. Instructors and teachers across would be able to see if any emotions contribute to learning disabilities and how much information the student is able to retain and recognize. Teachers could use this study to see what amount of information should be taught in the classroom. It could also be important for counselors/psychologist as it could show what information people with lack of self-confidence and negative emotions are able to retain. It would help them see how the brain focuses on negative parts of information and negative emotions about themselves. This information could then be used to not only diagnose people with depression, anxiety, or low self-worth but could help determine what kind of treatments would work best. It could show if depression or other disorders display a deficiency in recollection and familiarity, which ultimately affect the person’s memory. People would be able not only to understand their emotions, but be more aware of them, and have better ability to keep negative thoughts away and eventually cognitive reactivity.