Directed forgetting of emotional material : cognitive and neural mechanisms

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Gerichtetes Vergessen von emotionalem Material - kognitive und neuronale Mechanismen
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Zusammenfassung

Directed forgetting refers to people s ability to intentionally forget material designated as unimportant. Two paradigms are usually used to explore this ability: The item and the list method. In the item method, stimuli are presented individually, each followed by an instruction to forget or remember the previous item. In the list method, two lists of stimuli are presented. The first list is either followed by a forget instruction or a remember instruction. Memory is tested for all items regardless of initial instruction. Directed forgetting occurs as reduced recall of to-be-forgotten compared to to-be-remembered stimuli in the item method and as reduced recall of the to-be-forgotten first list compared to a to-be-remembered first list. Although directed forgetting paradigms have been used widely, some important issues have been neglected and are less well understood: (1) Is directed forgetting material-specific? (2) Is directed forgetting modulated by emotional material? (3) What are the electrophysiological dynamics of directed forgetting?
Six experiments will be presented, aiming at answering these questions. Two experiments (chapter 1) investigated item method directed forgetting of complex colorful pictures. Directed forgetting has been shown with verbal material, but no previous study explored item method directed forgetting of complex and colorful pictures. Exp. 1 investigated item method directed forgetting of neutral complex pictures. Further, exp. 2 focused on behavioral and electrophysiological effects of item method directed forgetting of neutral compared to unpleasant complex pictures.
Four experiments (chapter 2) explored list method directed forgetting of words varying in emotional content. Although there are several studies on list method directed forgetting of emotional material, the findings are inconclusive as systematic investigations on healthy participants are missing. Thus, list emotionality was systematically varied in experiments 1-4 exploring the influence of emotion on directed forgetting. In exp. 1, both lists comprised neutral words and unpleasant words in experiment 2. In exp. 3, the first list consisted of neutral words and the second list of unpleasant words, while in exp. 4, the assignment was vice versa. Electrophysiological measures were assessed in all four experiments.
The experiments of chapter 1 found item method directed forgetting for neutral but not for unpleasant pictures. Successful forgetting of neutral pictures was related to enhanced electrophysiological positivity in frontal regions, which occurred during encoding of the forget instruction following neutral pictures. The lack of directed forgetting for unpleasant pictures was associated with late positivities reflecting enhanced encoding already during picture presentation and less frontal positivity during encoding of the forget instruction for unpleasant pictures. Further, regardless of previous picture valence, remember instructions evoked late positivities, which have been related to enhanced encoding processes.
In all experiments on list method directed forgetting, directed forgetting was found regardless of list emotionality. Moreover, memory effects of context change occurred, when the emotional content was changed between the first and the second list (exp. 3 and 4). Electrophysiologically, increased activity was found during the presentation of words that followed forget instructions compared to words following remember instructions. This activity difference occurred as late positivities, which have been associated with encoding and attentional processes.
These findings provide new insights for the above raised questions: (1) Directed forgetting is not restricted to verbal material but also occurs for complex neutral pictures. (2) Directed forgetting occurs for emotional and neutral words equally, while complex pictures depicting unpleasant content are exempt of directed forgetting. (3) The EEG data suggest that successful item method directed forgetting is associated with late positivities during remember instructions and frontal activity enhancement during forget instructions. In list method directed forgetting, late positivities occurred following the forget instruction.
Thus, the findings support a two-factor for both the item and the list method: Processes of selective rehearsal and inhibition can explain item method directed forgetting. Late positivities, which are associated with enhanced encoding, indicate selective rehearsal. These potentials occurred during presentation of unpleasant pictures and of remember instructions. Inhibitory processes are suggested by frontal positivities during forget instructions, which were particularly enhanced following neutral pictures. List method directed forgetting can be explained by attentional focusing, which is supported by the occurrence of late positivities after the forget instruction, and by memory effects of context change.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache

Material, welches als unwichtig klassifiziert wurde, kann willentlich vergessen werden: gerichtetes Vergessen. Meist werden zwei Paradigmen benutzt, um diese Fähigkeit zu untersuchen: Die Item und die Listen Methode. In der Item Methode werden Stimuli einzeln präsentiert, jedes gefolgt von einer Instruktion, den vorangegangenen Reiz zu merken oder zu vergessen. In der Listen Methode werden Stimuli in zwei Listen gezeigt. Der ersten Liste folgt entweder eine Vergesseninstruktion oder eine Merkeninstruktion. Die Erinnerungsleistung wird für alle Reize geprüft, unabhängig von der ursprünglichen Instruktion. Gerichtetes Vergessen zeigt sich als reduzierter Abruf von zu vergessenden Reizen verglichen mit zu merkenden Reizen. Obwohl diese Paradigmen bisher häufig benutzt wurden, gibt es einige Themen, die bislang vernachlässigt wurden und weniger gut verstanden sind: (1) Ist gerichtetes Vergessen materialspezifisch? (2) Wird gerichtetes Vergessen durch emotionales Material moduliert? (3) Welche elektrophysiologischen Dynamiken unterliegen gerichtetem Vergessen?
Sechs Experimente, die Antworten auf diese Fragen suchen, werden berichtet. Zwei Experimente (Kapitel 1) untersuchten Item Methoden gerichtetes Vergessen von komplexen, bunten Bildern. Gerichtetes Vergessen in der Item Methode wurde bereits mit verbalem Material gezeigt, jedoch gibt es bisher keine Studie zu gerichtetem Vergessen komplexer Bilder. Exp. 1 untersuchte daher gerichtetes Vergessen von neutralen komplexen Bildern. Exp. 2 fokussierte auf behaviorale und elektrophysiologische Effekte von gerichtetem Vergessen neutraler und unangenehmer, komplexer Bilder.
Vier Experimente (Kapitel 2) untersuchten Listen Methoden gerichtetes Vergessen von Wörtern unterschiedlicher Emotionalität. Obwohl es mehrere Studien zu gerichtetem Vergessen von emotionalem Material in der Listen Methode gibt, sind die Resultate uneindeutig, da systematische Untersuchungen bei gesunden Versuchspersonen fehlen. Daher wurde die Emotionalität der Listen in den Exp. 1-4 systematisch variiert, um den Einfluss von Emotion auf gerichtetes Vergessen zu untersuchen. In Exp. 1 umfassten beide Listen neutrale und in Exp. 2 unangenehme Wörter. In Exp. 3 bildeten neutrale Wörter die erste Liste und unangenehme Wörter die zweite Liste, während in Exp. 4 die Zuordnung umgekehrt war. Elektrophysiologische Maße wurden in allen Experimenten erhoben.
In Kapitel 1 wurde gerichtetes Vergessen für neutrale, aber nicht für unangenehme Bilder gefunden. Erfolgreiches Vergessen neutraler Bilder hing mit verstärkter elektrophysiologischer Positivierung in frontalen Regionen zusammen. Diese Positivierung trat während der Enkodierung von Vergesseninstruktionen für neutrale Bilder auf. Das Fehlen von gerichtetem Vergessen für unangenehme Bilder stand in Bezug zu späten Positivierungen, die schon während der Bildpräsentation auftraten. Merkeninstruktionen lösten, unabhängig von der Valenz des vorausgehenden Bildes, späte Positivierungen aus, welche mit verstärkter Enkodierung zusammen hängen.
In Kapitel 2 fand sich Listen Methoden gerichtetes Vergessen unabhängig vom emotionalen Inhalt der Listen. Außerdem zeigten sich Kontextwechseleffekte, wenn sich der Inhalt zwischen der ersten und der zweiten Liste änderte (Exp. 3 und 4). Elektrophysiologisch fand sich stärkere Aktivität für die Verarbeitung von Wörtern die der Vergesseninstruktion folgten im Vergleich zur Merkeninstruktion. Dieser Aktivitätsunterschied zeigte sich als späte Positivierung, die mit Enkodierungs- und Aufmerksamkeitsprozessen assoziiert wird.
Diese Resultate bieten neue Erkenntnisse für die oben gestellten Fragen: (1) Gerichtetes Vergessen ist nicht auf verbales Material beschränkt, sondern tritt auch für neutrale komplexe Bilder auf. (2) Gerichtetes Vergessen tritt für emotionale und neutrale Wörter gleichermaßen auf, während komplexe Bilder mit unangenehmem Inhalt nicht gerichtet vergessen werden. (3) Die EEG-Daten deuten daraufhin, dass erfolgreich gerichtetes Vergessen in der Item Methode mit späten Positivierungen während der Merkeninstruktionen und verstärkter frontaler Aktivität während der Vergesseninstruktionen einhergeht. In der Listen Methode traten späte Positivierungen für Material nach der Vergessensinstruktion auf.
Die Resultate stützen also sowohl für die Item als auch für die Listen Methode eine Zwei-Faktoren Erklärung: In der Item Methode spielen Prozesse selektiver Wiederholung und Inhibition eine Rolle. Späte Positivierungen, die mit verstärkter Enkodierung in Zusammenhang stehen, traten während der Darbietung von unangenehmen Bildern und von Merkeninstruktionen auf. Die frontale Aktivität während der Darbietung von Vergesseninstruktionen, welche besonders nach neutralen Bildern verstärkt war, deutet auf inhibitorische Prozesse hin. Listen Methoden gerichtetes Vergessen kann durch fokussierte Aufmerksamkeit, welche sich in späten Positivierungen zeigt, und durch Kontextwechseleffekte erklärt werden.

Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
Schlagwörter
gerichtetes Vergessen, Emotion, directed forgetting, emotion
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Zitieren
ISO 690HAUSWALD, Anne, 2008. Directed forgetting of emotional material : cognitive and neural mechanisms [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz
BibTex
@phdthesis{Hauswald2008Direc-10528,
  year={2008},
  title={Directed forgetting of emotional material : cognitive and neural mechanisms},
  author={Hauswald, Anne},
  address={Konstanz},
  school={Universität Konstanz}
}
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(2) Is directed forgetting modulated by emotional material? (3) What are the electrophysiological dynamics of directed forgetting?&lt;br /&gt;Six experiments will be presented, aiming at answering these questions. Two experiments (chapter 1) investigated item method directed forgetting of complex colorful pictures. Directed forgetting has been shown with verbal material, but no previous study explored item method directed forgetting of complex and colorful pictures. Exp. 1 investigated item method directed forgetting of neutral complex pictures. Further, exp. 2 focused on behavioral and electrophysiological effects of item method directed forgetting of neutral compared to unpleasant complex pictures.&lt;br /&gt;Four experiments (chapter 2) explored list method directed forgetting of words varying in emotional content. 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