A Room with an Overview: the Effects of Schematic Processing, Mood and Exposure Duration on Memory Accuracy
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Studies often posit the processing dichotomy of positive vs. negative affect. People in a negative mood tend to process information in a more systematic manner while those in a positive mood tend to adopt a more heuristic, schema-directed processing style. A 3 (mood: negative vs. neutral vs. positive) × 2 (exposure duration: one vs. five minutes) × 2 (schema-consistent vs. schema-inconsistent items) experimental design was employed in a real-life setting and, using the incidental learning paradigm, to test recognition memory for objects in a typical office. Following the affect-as-information approach, we hypothesized that induced positive mood would lead participants to engage in a more schema-directed processing leading to less accurate memory, while induced negative mood will lead to a more analytic and detailed processing, leading to higher memory accuracy and fewer memory errors. Results revealed a significant effect of duration, indicating that participants made more schema-consistent errors when their stay in the office was shorter. The significant interaction of mood and exposure duration suggests that effect of the exposure on memory accuracy applies to people in negative and neutral mood, while people in positive mood tend to maintain schema-directed processing style for longer period of time.
KeywordsMemory accuracy Affect-as-information Schema-consistency Mood
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of Interest
Andrea Vranić declares that she has no conflict of interest. Mirjana Tonković declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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