Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 391–405 | Cite as

Affect and memory in young children

  • S. Wayne Duncan
  • Christine M. Todd
  • Marion Perlmutter
  • John C. Masters


The state-dependent theory of the relationship between affective states and memory holds that recall will be best when the affective state at recall matches that during learning. Sequential happy, neutral, and sad affective states that were either consistent (e.g., Happy-Happy) or inconsistent (e.g., Sad-Neutral) were experimentally induced in preschool children prior to encoding and then again prior to retrieval (free and cued recall, recognition memory). Facial ratings indicated that the inductions were effective in inducing affect. Nevertheless, emotional states did not influence children's ability to recall items under free or cued conditions, and recognition memory was essentially perfect for all subjects. Thus, there was no evidence for state-dependent learning or for a “positive loop” between subjects' positive affect at retrieval and memory for positively rated information. Results are discussed in terms of the generally inconsistent findings in the literature on the role of affect in children's memory and factors that may limit affective state-dependent learning in children.


Young Child Social Psychology Positive Affect Emotional State Preschool Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Wayne Duncan
    • 1
  • Christine M. Todd
    • 1
  • Marion Perlmutter
    • 1
  • John C. Masters
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityUSA

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