Emotional Memory Across the Adult Lifespan: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Emotional Memory Across the Adult Lifespan

1st Edition

By Elizabeth A. Kensinger

Psychology Press

220 pages

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Though many factors can influence the likelihood that we remember a past experience, one critical determinant is whether the experience caused us to have an emotional response. Emotional experiences are more likely to be remembered than nonemotional ones, and over the past couple of decades there has been an increased interest in understanding how emotion conveys this memory benefit.

This book begins with a broad overview of emotion, memory, and the neural underpinnings of each, providing the reader with an appreciation of the complex interplay between emotion and memory. It then examines how emotion influences young adults’ abilities to store information temporarily, or over the long term. It explains emotion’s influence on the memory processes that young adults use consciously and on the processes that guide young adults’ preferences and actions without their awareness. This book then moves on to describe how each of these influences of emotion are affected by the aging process, and by age-related disease, providing the reader with a lifespan perspective of emotional memory.

Within each of the domains covered, the book integrates research from cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychological perspectives, examining both the behavioral and thought processes that lead to emotion’s effects on memory and also the underlying brain processes that guide those influences of emotion.

This book will be of interest to researchers and graduate students in memory, emotion, and aging, working in the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive or affective neuroscience, and developmental or lifespan psychology.


"Emotional memory is a fundamentally important topic that is generating a great deal of exciting research. Elizabeth Kensinger has made important contributions to this rapidly growing literature, and in her scholarly yet highly readable book, she provides a comprehensive synthesis of the key findings and ideas at the forefront of the field. Emotional Memory Across the Adult Lifespan is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the psychology or cognitive neuroscience of memory and emotion." - Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Introduction and Background. 1. Emotion, Memory, and Their Interactions. 2. The Neurobiology of Emotion and Memory. 3. Methods for Investigating Emotion-Memory Interactions. Part 2. Emotional Memory in Young Adults. 4. Emotion’s Modulation of Implicit Memory. 5. Emotion’s Influence on Working Memory. 6. Emotion and Long-Term Memory Enhancements. 7. Aspects of Memory Enhanced by Emotion. 8. Emotion-Induced Memory Trade-offs. 9. Influences of Valence and Arousal on Emotional Memory. 10. Individual Differences in Young Adults’ Emotional Memories. Part 3. Emotional Memory in Older Adults. 11. Cognitive and Neural Changes with Advancing Age. 12. Emotional Processing in Old Age. 13. Aging and Emotional Working Memory. 14. When Aging Influences Effects of Emotion on Long-Term Memory. 15. Age-Related Positivity Biases. 16. Emotional Memory in Alzheimer’s Disease. 17. Summary and Conclusions.

About the Author

Dr. Kensinger graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1998, with a joint degree in Psychology and Biology. She pursued her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellowship and a National Science Foundation dissertation award. After receipt of her Ph.D. in 2003, she held a postdoctoral research position at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, supported by fellowships from the Massachusetts Biomedical Research Corporation and the National Institutes of Mental Health. In 2006, she joined the faculty of Boston College as an Assistant Professor of Psychology, where she heads the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience laboratory. Dr. Kensinger has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including young investigator research awards from the American Federation for Aging Research and the Dana Foundation. She is Associate Editor of the journal Cognition and Emotion, and she sits on the editorial boards of Memory and Cognition and Journal of Experimental Psychology. She has authored or co-authored over 60 research articles and book chapters, and she has been an invited symposium speaker at many universities as well as at national and international conferences.

About the Series

Essays in Cognitive Psychology

Essays in Cognitive Psychology is designed to meet the need for rapid publication of brief volumes in cognitive psychology.

Primary topics include perception, movement and action, attention, memory, mental representation, language and problem solving.

Furthermore, the series seeks to define cognitive psychology in its broadest sense, encompassing all topics either informed by, or informing, the study of mental processes. As such, it covers a wide range of subjects including computational approaches to cognition, cognitive neuroscience, social cognition, and cognitive development, as well as areas more traditionally defined as cognitive psychology.

Each volume in the series makes a conceptual contribution to the topic by reviewing and synthesizing the existing research literature, by advancing theory in the area, or by some combination of these missions.

The principal aim is that authors provide an overview of their own highly successful research program in an area.

Volumes also include an assessment of current knowledge and identification of possible future trends in research.

Each book is a self-contained unit supplying the advanced reader with a well-structured review of the work described and evaluated.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology