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Keywords:

  • autobiographical memory;
  • imagery;
  • overgeneral memory

Abstract

The objective of the current study was to investigate whether emotion pictorial cues increase memory specificity among non-clinical participants. Undergraduate university students were presented with emotion word and pictorial cues on a prompted and non-prompted version of the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT). In comparison to pictorial cues, participants retrieved significantly fewer specific autobiographical memories in response to word cues on the prompted AMT; however, there was no significant difference on the non-prompted AMT. Participants also retrieved significantly fewer specific memories in response to both word and pictorial cues on the non-prompted AMT compared with the prompted AMT. These results provide support for the hypothesis that among non-clinical participants, visual cues increase memory specificity over and above emotion. Further research is needed to investigate ways in which memory specificity can be increased and the use of imagery may be a promising avenue.