Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Allison Wilck, M.A.

Committee Member

Jeanette Altarriba, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heather Sheridan, Ph.D.


The literature shows that words processed according to their survival relevance typically produce a memory advantage. Similarly, words containing an emotional connotation tend to lead to better memory. The current study examined whether combining both the survival processing effect and the emotion processing advantage would cause an interaction that amplified the effects on memory. Using a modified version of the traditional survival processing paradigm, participants rated emotion words (positive, negative, or neutral) on their relevance to a survival context or home-moving control context. They were later given a surprise recall task for the rated words. The results did not show a survival processing effect regardless of emotional valence. However, there was a significant effect in the amount of intrusions (i.e., false memory) for the conditions that contained negative emotion words. More research is needed to see if emotion words are a boundary condition to the robust survival processing effect.

Included in

Psychology Commons