Psykologisk Institut

Osman Skjold Kingo

How is physiological arousal related to self-reported measures of emotional intensity and valence of events and their autobiographical memories?

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Research suggests that emotionally intense experiences that elicit higher-than-average physiological arousal responses lead to particularly durable and detailed autobiographical memories. Yet, the lack of objective measures of physiological arousal while events unfold in everyday life makes it hard to corroborate this lab finding. Also, it is uncertain how well arousal maps onto self-reports of the phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical events and memories. Here, we examined how physiological measures of arousal, taken while everyday life events develop, correlate with self-reports. Our results showed that physiological arousal during an event not only was related to self-evaluations of its assessed physical reaction —at the time of report—, but also predicted evaluations of physical reaction, positivity, and importance of their memories one week after. Further analyses revealed that, while arousal affected evaluations of emotional intensity of events and memories, this relationship was moderated by participants’ level of awareness about their own emotional processes.
TidsskriftConsciousness and Cognition
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019

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