The And Emotional Learning Task Essay

1336 Words Mar 4th, 2016 6 Pages
Everyday our brains are inundated with seemingly mundane details, and remembering all of them is impossible. Unfortunately in some cases, previously acquired memories can become important later, even if they did not seem important at the time. For instance, in situations where they have an effect on the future health or safety of the individual. In this study, Dunsmoor et al. (2012) ask the question: can seemingly unimportant information be strengthened and remembered later if connected to an emotional learning task? This is a really interesting question to ask, as if the answer is yes it speaks to an evolutionarily adaptive quality humans have that has yet to fully be explored.
For this study, participants were placed in a within-subjects design that used a form of fear conditioning in order to determine whether previously encoded weak memories could be strengthened by later, salient emotional learning tasks. To test this, participants were classically conditioned through three phases to associate a conditioned stimulus (images of either animals or tools) with the pain from electric shock electrodes (Dunsmoor et al., 2015).
The study took place over three stages: in phase one, participants viewed sixty images, 30 animals and 30 tools, which were counterbalanced in the study such that they varied which one was the conditioned stimulus (CS+) and which was not (CS-). The participants were not told that it was important to remember them, or given any hints that the pictures…

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