Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

February 1998


Published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, 12 (1998), pp. 119–131 (1998). Copyright © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission.


Participants viewed either a violent, arousing film or a non-violent, control version of the same film. After viewing the film, they made three successive attempts to recall details of the event. Participants who were exposed to the negative emotional event were better than control participants at recalling details of the event itself, but they were worse at recalling details that preceded or followed the violence. Both groups of participants recalled significantly more information over successive recall attempts, suggesting that memory impairment due to arousal can be alleviated by repeated testing. Repeated testing was also associated with a small but reliable increase in memory intrusions. The implications of these findings for research on hypermnesia and on the relationship between arousal and memory are discussed.