Motivational relevance as a potential modulator of memory for affective stimuli: Can we compare snakes and cakes?


Consideration of affective dimensions beyond arousal may be useful for a more precise understanding of the effects of emotional events on episodic memory. As highlighted by Kensinger (2009), the valence of an event may differentially impact the accuracy of its recall. Paralleling work on attention, we propose that the relevance of an event or stimulus for survival may also importantly modulate memory accuracy. However, few memory studies to date have accounted for motivational relevance, and the stimuli employed in most studies are not matched on this dimension.


Christine L Larson
Elizabeth L. Steuer