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The Effects of Visual and Auditory Noise on Autobiographical Memories

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022136/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Visual and Auditory Noise on Autobiographical Memories
Physical Description: 1 online resource (79 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Ogut, Burhan
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: autobiographical, memory, phonological, visuospatial, working
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The present study examined the relationship between working memory and autobiographical memory. Participants were presented with either auditory or visual noise concurrently with an autobiographical memory retrieval task. The auditory and visual noise were intended to specifically interfere with the ability to utilize the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad components of working memory, respectively. In Experiment 1, the visual or auditory noise began 3 sec before the presentation of an autobiographical memory cue word. Participants were asked to recall memories in response to the cue words, and then talk about the memory while being recorded. They then rated various phenomenological characteristics of the recalled event (e.g., imagery, auditory experience, linguistic relatedness, uniqueness, typicality, etc.). Results showed that visual and auditory noise led to faster, rather than slower, retrieval of autobiographical memories. Auditory noise also decreased the auditory and verbal qualities of the recalled memories compared to control group. There were no other effects of noise conditions on the phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memories. In a second experiment, presentation of visual or auditory noise following retrieval of memories during a five-second period of memory maintenance similarly had little effect on subsequent ratings of those memories. Results were discussed in the context of the robustness of autobiographical memory retrieval, and of autobiographical memory characteristics and their relationship to working memory components. It is suggested that the additional auditory or visual stimulation may serve to prime, rather than interfere with, retrieval of autobiographical memory.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Burhan Ogut.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Fischler, Ira S.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022136:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022136/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Visual and Auditory Noise on Autobiographical Memories
Physical Description: 1 online resource (79 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Ogut, Burhan
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: autobiographical, memory, phonological, visuospatial, working
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The present study examined the relationship between working memory and autobiographical memory. Participants were presented with either auditory or visual noise concurrently with an autobiographical memory retrieval task. The auditory and visual noise were intended to specifically interfere with the ability to utilize the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad components of working memory, respectively. In Experiment 1, the visual or auditory noise began 3 sec before the presentation of an autobiographical memory cue word. Participants were asked to recall memories in response to the cue words, and then talk about the memory while being recorded. They then rated various phenomenological characteristics of the recalled event (e.g., imagery, auditory experience, linguistic relatedness, uniqueness, typicality, etc.). Results showed that visual and auditory noise led to faster, rather than slower, retrieval of autobiographical memories. Auditory noise also decreased the auditory and verbal qualities of the recalled memories compared to control group. There were no other effects of noise conditions on the phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memories. In a second experiment, presentation of visual or auditory noise following retrieval of memories during a five-second period of memory maintenance similarly had little effect on subsequent ratings of those memories. Results were discussed in the context of the robustness of autobiographical memory retrieval, and of autobiographical memory characteristics and their relationship to working memory components. It is suggested that the additional auditory or visual stimulation may serve to prime, rather than interfere with, retrieval of autobiographical memory.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Burhan Ogut.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Fischler, Ira S.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022136:00001


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c9ad3ee63e1a3c6226a26039c88f90d2
7f3595a0ff54a6e43f8ccfdabd606dd0b29f5e8b







THE EFFECTS OF VISUAL AND


AUDIT ORY NOISE ON AUT OB IOGRAPHIC AL
MEMORIES


By

BURHAN OGUT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008


































O 2008 Burhan Ogut




























To my parents









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and uppermost, I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Ira

Fischler. If it was not for him, I would have never finished this dissertation on time. I feel very

lucky and honored to meet him, have a chance to work with him, and most importantly learn

from him. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had. What strikes me most about him is his

extensive knowledge about, simply, everything. That is why; he is very open to new ideas. Just

take a look at the kind of research he has supervised over the years and you will see how diverse

his interests are. I wish I can be a scientist as good as him and make him proud. Ira, you are my

role model and I will always miss your witty and clever remarks.

I would also like to thank my committee members for their endless efforts. Thank you, Dr.

Russell Bauer, Dr. Lise Abrams, Dr. Susan Bluck and Dr. Trevor Park for all your help and

support for my PhD studies and this dissertation.

I am thankful to all my research assistants for their help in conducting the experiments.

Thank you, Karlyn Klemmt, Matt Broderick, Kelseanne Breder, Christopher Diddle, Jesse

Porter, and Dirk McNealy. I would never have the time to finish this dissertation without your

help. I am especially grateful to Karlyn for her help in managing the day to day work in the

l ab oratory.

I would also like to thank Lu for her continuous encouragement and motivation for me to

become better both professionally and personally. You are one of my biggest inspirations.

I am always grateful to my family for their support in all my decisions and their love.

Without them, I would never be here.

Last, but not least, Mike Mckay, I will always miss your laughs that would make the

basements of psychology building warmer and lively. I miss you.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ................. ...............4.......... ......


LIST OF TABLES ................ ...............7............ ....


LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. ...............8.....


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................. ...............9............ ....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 10...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............12.......... ......


Aim of the Study ................. ...............12................
Autobiographical M memories ................. .......... ...............12.......
Organization of Autobiographical Memories ................. ...............13................
Affect Infusion Model ............... .... ...............15.
Autobiographical Memory Retrieval ................. ...............18........... ....
Cognitive Load .............. ...............21....
Irrelevant Speech Effects ................. ...............23........... ....
Irrelevant Pictorial Effects ................. ...............25........... ....
General Research Question............... ...............26


2 COMMON METHOD ................. ...............29........... ....


Phonological Loop Suppression ................. ...............29........... ....
Visuospatial Sketchpad Suppression ................. ...............29........... ....
Autobiographical Memory Task............... .......... .............2
Autobiographical Memory Characteristics Questionnaire .............. .....................3


3 EXPERIMENT 1 .............. ...............32....


Introduction............... ..............3
M ethod ................ ...............3.. 2..............
Participants .............. ...............32....
Procedure ................. ...............32.................
R e sults.................. .. ........ ..... ...... .... ..... ... .. ...... .. ........3
Effects of Visual versus Auditory Presentation of Cue Words: Control Group.............. 34
Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories ......... ................ ...............35


4 EXPERIMENT 2 ................ ...............50........... ....


Introduction.............. .............5












M ethod ................. ...............50.......... ......
Participants .............. ...............50....
Procedure ................. ...............50.................
R e sults.................. .. ........ ..... ...... .... ..... .... .. ...... ........5
Effects of Visual versus Auditory Presentation of Wue Words: Control Group ............52
Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories ....._____ ... .....___ ...............53


5 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............66....___ ......


APPENDIX


A LIST OF CUE WORDS .............. ...............73....


B AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY QUESTIONNAIRE .............. ....................7


LIST OF REFERENCES ............__.......... ...............77....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............79....










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-2 Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control
group .............. ...............40....

3-3. Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects ................... .41

3-4 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise ................... .........42

3-5 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual noise to control group ................... .43

3-6 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of auditory noise to control group ................44

3-7 Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition....45

3-8 Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each participant with reaction time
by experimental condition............... ...............4

4-1 Mean and standard error of re sponse vari abl es by experimental group s................... ........5 7

4-2 Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control
group .............. ...............58....

4-3 Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects ................... .59

4-4 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise ................... .........60

4-5 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual noise to control group ................... .61

4-6 Mixed model F-test results for comparison of auditory noise to control group ................62

4-7 Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition....63

4-8 Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each participant with response time
by experimental condition............... ...............6










LIST OF FIGURES


FiMr page

2-1 A static representation of the visual dynamic noise ................. ................ ......... .3 1

3-1 Box plots for the attribute ratings for the autobiographical memories .............. ..... ..........47

3-2 Box plots for the response times for experiment 1 and 2 .............. ....................4

4-1 Box plots for the attribute ratings for the autobiographical memories .............. .............65









LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AIM Affect infusion model

AM Autobiographical memories

ANOVA Analysis of variance









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE EFFEC TS OF VISUAL AND AUDIT ORY NOISE ON AUT OB IOGRAPHIC AL
MEMORIES

By

Burhan Ogut

August 2008

Chair: Ira Fischler
Major: Psychology

The present study examined the relationship between working memory and

autobiographical memory. Participants were presented with either auditory or visual noise

concurrently with an autobiographical memory retrieval task. The auditory and visual noise were

intended to specifically interfere with the ability to utilize the phonological loop and visuospatial

sketchpad components of working memory, respectively. In Experiment 1, the visual or auditory

noise began 3 sec before the presentation of an autobiographical memory cue word. Participants

were asked to recall memories in response to the cue words, and then talk about the memory

while being recorded. They then rated various phenomenological characteristics of the recalled

event (e.g., imagery, auditory experience, linguistic relatedness, uniqueness, typicality, etc.).

Results showed that visual and auditory noise led to faster, rather than slower, retrieval of

autobiographical memories. Auditory noise also decreased the auditory and verbal qualities of

the recalled memories compared to control group. There were no other effects of noise

conditions on the phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memories. In a second

experiment, presentation of visual or auditory noise following retrieval of memories during a

five-second period of memory maintenance similarly had little effect on subsequent ratings of

those memories. Results were discussed in the context of the robustness of autobiographical









memory retrieval, and of autobiographical memory characteristics and their relationship to

working memory components. It is suggested that the additional auditory or visual stimulation

may serve to prime, rather than interfere with, retrieval of autobiographical memory.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Aim of the Study

Research has shown that the structure and organization of autobiographical memories can

be affected by many factors, including but not limited to emotion (Schaefer & Philippot, 2005),

depression (Kuyken & Brewin, 1995), post-traumatic stress disorder (Harvey, Bryant, & Dang,

1998), and cognitive load (Williams et al., 2006). The aim of this research was to examine the

effect of certain kinds of cognitive load, namely the presence of concurrent "loads" on visual and

auditory components of working memory, on the retrieval and evaluation of autobiographical

episodes from long-term memory.

Autobiographical Memories

Autobiographical memory can be defined simply as an individual's memory for his/her

own personal history (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). There are different

classifications of memory, such as episodic, semantic, declarative, procedural, implicit, and

explicit memories. However, it is not easy to classify autobiographical memory as one type of

memory in these terms. It seems awkward and somewhat misleading to try to divide

autobiographical memories into such subcategories, as they appear to include both

spatiotemporall" (episodic) and "factual" (semantic) knowledge (Conway, 1996). Hence,

autobiographical memories can be understood to include both episodic and semantic memories.

Autobiographical memories are not complete records of events; encoded memories are

reconstructed each time at recall. These reconstructed memories include both "sensory-

perceptual" and "decontextualized" information. Sensory perceptual knowledge makes the

subj ective reliving of the event possible, whereas decontextualized knowledge gives some basic

information about the event (Conway, 1996; Haque & Conway, 2001).










Organization of Autobiographical Memories

Autobiographical memories are proposed to have a unique organization. Conway (1996;

Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) suggested that the autobiographical "knowledge base" has

three hierarchically organized levels: lifetime periods, general events, and event-specific

knowledge.

Lifetime periods are long-lasting periods, usually in years, which have specific beginnings

and endings. Aims, plans, and themes of the self in those time periods are encoded in this layer.

Lifetime periods also include knowledge about significant others, locations, actions, and

activities specific to those time periods. Therefore, information encoded in lifetime periods

includes both thematic and temporal knowledge about that specific period (Conway, 1996;

Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000).

General events are more precise than lifetime periods, and include information for

extended and repeated events that have occurred over weeks and months. General events are

more heterogeneous than lifetime periods, and there are typically numerous thematically-related

events at this level. General events also include information by which knowledge and details of

specific events and episodes can be accessed (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000).

Event-specific knowledge includes sensory-perceptual information (e.g., images,

sensations, smells, thoughts) about the specific memory. Therefore, it is related to the vividness

and specificity of autobiographical memory (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000).

Bluck and Habermas (2000) proposed an additional level for autobiographical knowledge

base, that of a life story schema. According to this view, a life story schema is the highest level

of autobiographical knowledge base, which integrates and includes contextual information for

the personal history of the self in relation to past events and developments. The life story schema

can be assumed to have connections to different lifetime period events, and it can give access to










specific lifetime period events. With the help of this schema a person becomes able to form a life

story that "...is structured, coherent, evaluative, and based on actual events and transitions"

(p.128). According to Bluck and Habermas, life stories are important themes in life which might

include the successes, turning points, events towards achieving a goal, and etc.

Conway (1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) modified and elaborated his model of

autobiographical memory in response to an extensive program of empirical research by him and

his colleagues. In one such study, Anderson and Conway (1993) examined the structure of

autobiographical memories in a series of experiments. The participants were told to retrieve

memories as quickly as possible either from a period of the past ten years, or from a period more

than ten years before. As soon as the participant retrieved a memory he/she was told to list the

details of the memory either in 10 seconds or in 30 seconds. Then he/she was instructed to list

the details of the memory in one of five conditions: in free recall, in forward temporal order, in

reverse temporal order, in terms of centrality (i.e., the detail that is most central to the memory),

and in terms of personal significance. Results of their first three experiments showed that

subjects listed more details in free recall and forward temporal conditions than in the other

conditions. Details in the free recall conditions were more personal than the other conditions. In

experiments 4 and 5, it was found that the distinctive cues gave faster access to autobiographical

memories than did less distinctive or thematically relevant cues. These findings suggested that

both temporal organization and personal significance are important elements in the organization

of autobiographical memories.

In a similar study, Haque and Conway (2001) asked participants to retrieve

autobiographical memories in response to cues. At some point after cue presentation, they were

told to report "what was in their minds" at that time. The results showed that in the early stages









of retrieval (2 sec after cue presentation) participants reported more abstract knowledge, whereas

in later stages they reported general (5 sec) and specific knowledge (30 sec) about the memory in

response to the cue word. Of all the lifetime period memories, 70% of them came from the 2 sec

group, whereas 41% of the all general memories came from the 5 sec group. Specific memories,

on the other hand were prominent in the 30 sec group. The results were in line with the model

proposed by Conway (1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). That is, the organization of

memories is hierarchical, and more important for the present study, memories were activated in

temporal order from general to more specific knowledge about the remembered event.

Access as well as structure, then, in Conway's model of autobiographical memory is

hierarchical in nature; it is assumed that information in upper levels is used to access information

in lower levels. In this sense, the flow of information is commonly from upper, less specific

levels to lower, more specific levels.

Even though this unique organization is observed in many studies of autobiographical

memory retrieval (e.g. Haque and Conway, 2001), it can be modulated by factors such as the

emotionality of the memory, and the emotional mood and cognitive capacity of the rememberer

(Harvey, Bryant, & Dang, 1998; Kuyken & Brewin, 1995; Schaefer & Philippot, 2005; Williams

et al., 2006). The role of affect on autobiographical memory was the focus of the Affect Infusion

Model, which will be discussed below.

Affect Infusion Model

The Affect Infusion Model (or AIM) was the first proposed to explain in detail the

relationship between mood and memory (Forgas, 1995). However, it may also serve as a useful

framework for thinking about the organization of autobiographical memories more generally. It

suggested that the relationship between mood and memory is moderated by the characteristics of

the individual (e.g., affective state, cognitive capacity, motivation level, personality










characteristics, personal relevance of the task), of the situation (e.g., demand effects, cognitive

load, expectations), and of the available information e.g., (complexity, familiarity, typicality).

Depending on the "settings" of these three characteristics, people may employ different

processing strategies. AIM describes four processing strategies that are increasingly more likely

to engender mood and emotion effects in memory. These are termed direct access, motivated

processing, heuristic processing, and substantive processing (Forgas, 1995). According to the

model, deeper or more elaborative processing as such does not always lead to manipulation

effects. It is the combination of personal, contextual, and task characteristics that will make the

effects of manipulation on memory more or less likely, and determine the particular direction of

these effects.

Direct access is the simplest strategy; it is based on the strongly cued recall of the stored

cognitive contents that are "crystallized" in memory. It is closed to affect infusion. It is more

likely to be used when the task is familiar, when there is little or no personal involvement, and

when no other motivational, cognitive, affective, or situational forces require elaborate

processing (Bower & Forgas, 2000).

M\~otivatedprocessing is guided by a strong, preexisting obj ective. Hence, little

constructive processing takes place, and this in turn limits the probability of affect infusion.

Motivated processing is used when a specific outcome is desired and a specific directional goal

dominates and guides the information search. Mood maintenance or mood regulation can be

examples of motivated processing (Bower & Forgas, 2000). In mood regulation, a current

negative mood does not get integrated with the process that is going on at that time. As soon as

someone realizes his/her negative mood, he/she tries to eliminate it by some kind of mood

regulation strategies, such as intentional recall of pleasant memories. Even though one could










argue that in this case the current mood is still responsible for these actions, the result is an

absence (or reversal) of the expected congruence or mood-dependence effects.

Heuristic processing occurs when neither direct access nor motivated processing can be

used, because the task lacks either personal involvement or sufficient processing resources. This

situation is highly susceptible to affect infusion. It is adopted for a relatively simple or typical

task with low personal relevance, no specific motivational obj ectives, limited cognitive capacity,

and no demand for accuracy or substantive processing. Environmental context variables and

current mood could easily affect information processing in this case (Bower & Forgas, 2000).

Substantive processing is the most constructive strategy, and has the greatest vulnerability

to affect infusion. It is used when the other three relatively simple processes cannot be employed.

It is more likely to be employed when a task is complex, atypical, and personally relevant, when

subj ects have adequate processing capacity, but lack a specific motivational goal (Forgas, 1999).

Forgas (1994, 1995) and Bower and Forgas (2000) describe a wide range of studies which

provide supportive evidence for AIM in different social domains (e.g., perception and

interpretation of interactive behaviors, attributions for success and failure, relationship

judgment). For example, Forgas and Moylan (1991) wanted to test one implication of this model,

which suggested that the longer and more extensively someone tries to make a judgment, the

more he/she will be open to affect infusion. They argued that atypical, unusual, or complex

targets would lead to longer and more substantive encoding strategies. In their experiment,

Forgas and Moylan studied the effects of happy, neutral, or sad moods on people's perception of

other races. Participants were presented Asian (heterostereotype) or Caucasian (autostereotype)

characters who were part of a same-race or a mixed-race dyad. The mixed-race dyads were

hypothesized to require more detailed and substantive inferential processing than same-race










dyad. Mood congruence effects for both positive and negative mood were found, which were

significantly larger when participants were presented a mixed dyad, as predicted by AIM.

Autobiographical Memory Retrieval

Reviewing a number of studies of the time needed to access autobiographical memories

(see above), Conway (1996) concluded that the retrieval of autobiographical memory in general

takes more time than the retrieval of other knowledge from memory. Therefore, Conway (1996)

suggested that retrieval of autobiographical memories is more of a constructive and an effortful

process, in contrast to a veridical one-to-one reproduction of events stored in memory.

Corresponding to the structural model of his autobiographical memory, Conway's dynamic

retrieval model is similarly very explicit and detailed. However, this aspect of his model has not

received a great deal of empirical attention.

According to Conway (1996), autobiographical memory retrieval takes place in sequential

steps. First, a cue is analyzed and a memory description, which can be in the form of fragmented

images, is created. Then this information is used to access the autobiographical memory

knowledge base. Finally, information in the activated level (general events or lifetime event

periods) used to gain access to the sublevels. Retrieval stops when a specific autobiographical

memory i s retrieved. Thi s kind of model i s sometimes called a constraint-sati sfaction model, in

which a decision made at the end of each step, and this decision process is constrained by some

factors. Applied to autobiographical memory, the model proposes that each retrieval process is

constrained by task demands and personal characteristics (Conway, 1996; Anderson & Conway,

1993).

According to Conway (1996), during retrieval of an autobiographical memory, activation

from one level travels to the other levels. However, this process is not automatic as in the case of

spreading activation; it is effortful and takes time. According to the model, information retrieved









at the end of each step is temporarily held in working memory, which therefore may concurrently

contain knowledge from different levels of autobiographical knowledge base (Anderson &

Conway, 1993).

In a recent study, Williams, Chan, and Crane (2006) tested the hierarchical structure of

autobiographical memory retrieval by manipulating the search process. They argued that

increasing the working memory load by a secondary task when simultaneously searching for an

autobiographical memory would lead to general event memories instead of specific memories.

Participants were asked to recall autobiographical memories in response to high- and low-

imageable cue words while they were doing a random button pressing as the secondary task.

Williams et al. expected high imageable cues to lead to specific memories because they are more

likely to bring to mind visual images that will be effective cues for specific memories. This in

turn would help them to maintain a good performance in a secondary working memory task

compared to low imageable cues. There were also two different retrieval modes; specific and

generic.

Comparing performance without a secondary task to one with the random number

pressing, Williams et al. found that for low imageable cues (which they suggested would lead to

generative retrieval), random-number pressing (a task designed to place attentional demands on a

person while minimizing sensory-motor demands, see below) caused memories to be less

specific. In another experiment, they tested the effect of specific or generic retrieval of

autobiographical memories on a secondary task. Participants were first asked to retrieve specific

or generic autobiographical memories, then they were given a means-end problem solving task.

Williams et al. assumed since more working memory capacity is needed for the specific

autobiographical memory retrieval, this will impede the following problem solving task. Results









showed that specific memory retrieval did indeed decrease problem solving performance, as

measured by the number of means and effectiveness.

The (re)construction of autobiographical memory from the retrieved information is

suggested to be moderated by central or executive control processes. Conway and Pleydell-

Pearce (2000) proposed the working self as a control process that tries to minimize the

discrepancies between the current situation and the active goals of the self. The working self

compares the present situation with the current goals of the self and produces an output.

According to this output different kinds of information processing takes place in mind. Hence, it

is clear that active goals of the self can limit or give access to autobiographical knowledge base

by setting boundaries in searching, elaborating, and evaluation phases of retrieval process. As a

result, the content and structure of autobiographical memories can change according to the

current goals of the self. Moreover, in this system the relationship between autobiographical

memories and goals of the self is reciprocal; that is, autobiographical memories can determine

the goals of the self as well as goals of the self can affect the content and structure of the

autobiographical memories. For example, remembering his success in analytical problem

solving, someone might acquire the goal of studying marketing in graduate school. Likewise,

someone who has the current goal of studying marketing can fail to remember those cases where

she was not successful solving analytical problems.

Conway and Pleydell-Pearce (2000) also differentiated two types of specific

autobiographical memory retrieval: generative retrieval and direct retrieval. Direct retrieval

occurs when a specific memory cue gives rapid and effortless access to event specific

knowledge. For example, given "vacation" as a cue word, someone might immediately

remember the horrible plane trip with all the details about the trip like the annoying person









sitting next to her, bad food, etc. Generative retrieval occurs when a cue is elaborated and used to

access an autobiographical memory through working self. These two types of autobiographical

memory retrieval exploit different processing strategies. Direct retrieval appears equivalent to the

direct access strategy of AIM, and it is suggested to be closed to any manipulation (Forgas,

1995). Generative retrieval, on the other hand, would result in any of the other three strategies

(Motivated, heuristic, and substantive), and depending on the personality, contextual, and

memory characteristics these strategies would be open to manipulation. Thus, memories

retrieved by direct access could be argued to differ from the ones retrieved by generative

retrieval in some dimensions, at least, including the organization, structure and/or

phenomenological characteristics of these memories.

Cognitive Load

One attribute of individuals whose effect on autobiographical memories has recently been

explored experimentally is that of cognitive capacity. Williams et al. (2007) studied the effect of

executive control on the relationship between autobiographical memory specifieity and

depression. Williams et al. (2007) demonstrated, as have others, that depression is characterized

by a reduced specifieity in autobiographical memories. In a series of experiments using different

kinds of executive control tasks (e.g. verbal fluency, design fluency, alternate uses, Porteus maze

test, number generation) with non-clinically depressed participants, they showed that

autobiographical memory specifieity is significantly and negatively correlated with errors on

executive control tasks, even after partialling out depression scores (the correlation coefficient

changed from -.40 to -.51). These results showed that autobiographical memory specificity is

modulated by executive control capacity independent of depression.

Others have taken the approach of manipulating the situation, and varying the cognitive

load of the task, to explore the relationship between executive control and specificity of









autobiographical memory. Williams et al.'s study, discussed previously, reflects this kind of an

approach. They found that increasing working memory load by a secondary task when

simultaneously searching for an autobiographical memory lead to general event memories

instead of specific memories.

Baddeley (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974; Baddeley, 2000) perceived working memory as "...a

limited capacity system allowing the temporary storage and manipulation of information

necessary for such complex tasks as comprehension, learning and reasoning" (p.418). Baddeley

further claimed working memory is a complex information-processing system composed of four

major parts: the central executive, the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and (a

recent addition) the episodic buffer. The central executive is an attentional control system

responsible for coordinating the "slave" systems, which serve to store and maintain sensori-

motor representations. The phonological loop maintains verbal and acoustic information by a

transitory store and an articulatory rehearsal system. The visuospatial sketchpad stores visual,

spatial and kinaesthetic aspects of visuospatial information. The episodic buffer, a recent

addition to the multistore model, is a storage space that integrates phonological, visual, spatial,

and verbal information into a unitary episodic representation.

Many tasks have been devised to measure the capacity of each of these components of

working memory. The procedures used by the previous studies aimed to assess the central

executive function of working memory. However, the complex nature of autobiographical

memories makes it interesting and useful to explore which specific components of the working

memory are more involved in retrieval of autobiographical memories. An overall effect of

executive attentional load on memory, as demonstrated by the Williams et al. findings, is hardly

surprising. In view of some of Conway's (1996, 2000) suggestions about the strategic, and









visual, nature of retrieval dynamics, it should further be possible to selectively interfere with

retrieval by interfering not with the central executive, but with one of the "slave" systems. This is

the distinctive aspect of the present research .

One of the difficulties of studying the different components of working memory is to find

tasks that are supposed to influence and measure different components, but are comparable in

nature. For example, the most often-used phonological loop task concurrent articulation of a

string of speech sounds, sometimes as simple as saying "the, the, the" repeatedly does not on

the face of it appear to require as much cognitive capacity as compared to a commonly-used

visuospatial loop task of rotating images in one's mind. Irrelevant speech and image effects,

however, as described below, appear comparable in nature in terms of the minimal cognitive load

involved, and they were therefore used to suppress phonological and visuospatial components of

working memory in the present studies, respectively.

Irrelevant Speech Effects

Performance in immediate serial recall of verbal stimuli declines when participants are

presented irrelevant speech while studying the items in the list. Their performance decreases

even if they are told to not to pay attention to the irrelevant speech. This effect was first observed

by Colle and Welsh (1976) in an experiment where the study items were presented visually.

According to Salame and Baddeley (1982), irrelevant speech interferes with the short-term

storage of verbal stimuli within a limited capacity phonological input store. The phonological

loop consists of this phonological store and articulatory rehearsal process. According to the

model, spoken stimuli access the phonological store every time, however visually presented

information goes into the phonological store only when it is articulated.

In order to better understand the relationship between articulatory suppression and

phonological loop, Hanley and Bakopoulou (2003) studied the additive effects of irrelevant










speech and articulatory suppression using auditory stimuli. On half of the trials, they presented

the irrelevant speech during stimulus presentation and during the retention interval the other half.

For articulatory suppression, the participant was asked to repeat the word 'and' at a rate of

approximately two repetitions per second during presentation, retention interval, and recall of the

target stimuli. If Salame and Baddeley's ideas were correct, then irrelevant speech should have

similar effects on recall irrespective of if it takes place during stimuli presentation or the

retention interval when there is articulatory suppression. That is, there would be additive effects

of irrelevant speech and articulatory suppression. However, if perceptual masking at encoding is

responsible for the irrelevant speech effects on auditorily presented items, then presentation of

irrelevant speech during the retention interval only would significantly reduce any irrelevant

speech effect. The results showed that both irrelevant speech and articulatory suppression

decreased performance on a serial recall task, regardless of when the irrelevant speech is

presented. However, the performance was worse when irrelevant speech was accompanied with

articulatory suppression. Therefore, these results supported ideas of Salame and Baddeleythat

any spoken material will automatically enter phonological store.

Similarly, Surprenant, Neath, and LeCompte (1999) examined the relationship between

irrelevant speech and phonological similarity. Their results, in line with Hanley and

Bakopoulou's, showed that the phonological similarity effect is eliminated by irrelevant speech

for items that are visually presented, but not for auditorily presented items.

The working mechanism of the irrelevant speech effect has also been studied. Gisselgard,

Petersson, Baddeley and Ingvar (2003) asked participants to serially recall the digits that are

presented visually while they were hearing irrelevant speech in a PET study. They found out that

the effect of irrelevant speech was associated with a decrease of activity in bilateral secondary









auditory and inferior/middle frontal areas, as well as in the left inferior parietal cortex.

Therefore, they suggested irrelevant speech effect could be explained by the suppression of the

components of the verbal working memory (i.e., the phonological loop).

These results suggest that irrelevant speech could be used as a way to suppress the

phonological loop of working memory as an alternative to articulatory suppression task.

Irrelevant Pictorial Effects

In principle, irrelevant visual-spatial stimulation should interfere with the visual-spatial

sketchpad of working memory in a way analogous to how irrelevant speech interferes with the

phonological loop. But there have been far fewer studies of this aspect of working memory.

Quinn and McConnell (1996) were the first to investigate a visual equivalent of irrelevant speech

effect. They suggested that the irrelevant picture effect is a real phenomenon and furthermore it

could be manipulated to examine the visuospatial sketchpad. They argued irrelevant pictures

enters visuospatial in a similar way that irrelevant speech enters phonological loop using the

ideas and results of Logie (1986), who found out that irrelevant pictures did not affect

performance in rote rehearsal, but decreased performance under visual mnemonic instructions.

Quinn and McConnell developed a dynamic visual noise, in which dots change randomly

and constantly between off and on. They claim this dynamic visual noise is irrelevant and has no

time, place and thematic attentional focus but nonetheless cannot be ignored. Participants were

presented with this visual noise while they were studying words under verbal and visual

mnemonics instructions. The results showed that participants' performances under verbal

instructions were not affected by the visual noise; however, participants who were given visual

mnemonics instructions performed worse when presented with the visual noise. Furthermore,

Quinn and McConnell used a double dissociation approach between irrelevant speech and

irrelevant picture (Experiment 3). The results revealed that irrelevant speech did not affect the










performance under visual mnemonics, whereas performance got worse under verbal instructions.

Similarly, visual noise did not affect the performance under verbal instructions but decreased the

performance under visual instructions.

Using the same methodology, McConnell and Quinn (2004) examined the factors that

affect the degree of interference. For example, McConnell and Quinn manipulated the

complexity of the target stimulus event by increasing the number of dots, the density of the dots,

and size of the field in three experiments. Their results showed that the increasing complexity of

the stimulus event was associated with the greater interference from a visual noise, again even if

participants were told to ignore the visual noise but just look at it. They argued that, these results

again showed that visual noise can access the visuospatial sketchpad, and causes interference

with ongoing tasks that make use of that working memory structure.

Based on these results, visual noise seems to be a visuospatial sketchpad suppression task

that is equivalent to irrelevant speech in terms of the cognitive capacity demand. Therefore,

irrelevant speech and dynamic visual noise were used to suppress specifically phonological loop

and visuospatial sketchpad components of working memory. It is worth pointing out that,

although Quinn and McConnell refer to their interference as pictorial, their "dynamic visual

noise" does not involve pictorial stimuli, and would be comparable not to irrelevant speech in the

subject' s language, but in a foreign language, where no familiar organized and meaningful

patterns could activate semantic memory, attract attention, and otherwise complicate the

investigation of the "slave systems" of working memory per se.

General Research Question

If autobiographical memory retrieval depends on language and/or phonological cues and

activation of verbal knowledge, then phonological loop suppression will most impair

autobiographical memory retrieval. The memories would be expected to be retrieved more









slowly, be more general and have lower ratings on certain phenomenological characteristics such

as auditory and verbal qualities compared to a control group, who were not exposed to any type

of noise. On the other hand, if autobiographical memory retrieval requires active use of visual

imagery and image cues, as argued by Conway and others (see above), then the visuospatial

sketchpad suppression will most interfere with autobiographical memory recall in these ways.

Therefore, similar to the phonological loop suppression, the memories would be retrieved

slowly, be more general, and have lower ratings on visual and imagery related phenomenological

characteristics of autobiographical memories compared to the control group.

Typicality of autobiographical memories is also predicted to be affected by interference

with working memory storage systems. Typical autobiographical memories would be expected

to utilize less working memory capacity compared to distinct memories. I therefore expected that

the event-specific memories produced under working memory load conditions will be rated as

more typical. Furthermore, typical memories would be expected to be more general and have

lower ratings on some phenomenological characteristics of memories. Under working memory

interference conditions, the autobiographical memories recalled simultaneously would be

expected to be more typical ones. The suppression tasks would engage critical components of

working memory, therefore leaving fewer resources for recalling a distinct autobiographical

memory

Conway and Pleydell-Pearce (2000) distinguished between two stages of autobiographical

memory processing: search and retrieval, on one hand; and maintenance and elaboration on the

other. The search phase refers to the attempt to retrieve or activate a specific autobiographical

memory after being presented with some sort of cue. Once this phase is complete, the memory

can be maintained in working memory, elaborated with other memories or thoughts, or inspected









in various ways. Experiment 1 examined the effects of visual and phonological noise on the

search phase of autobiographical recall, which I hypothesis would be the most disrupted by

irrelevant stimuli. Further, if the process of searching for and retrieving an autobiographical

memory is founded on visual and spatial information, then the irrelevant picture task should be

more disruptive, and change the characteristics of the retrieved memories, more than would the

irrelevant speech task. In Experiment 2, the effects of irrelevant speech and visual noise on the

maintenance and elaboration of retrieved autobiographical memories was explored.









CHAPTER 2
COMMON METHOD

Phonological Loop Suppression

An irrelevant-speech paradigm was used to attempt to suppress the phonological loop of

working memory. Thirteen-seconds-long passages from a Turkish novel were recorded by a

female native speaker of Turkish. The passages were selected so that no there were no words that

could sound like English words. A randomly selected different passage was played for each trial

of the autobiographical memory task.

Visuospatial Sketchpad Suppression

A dynamic visual display of randomly turning on and off black and white dots in a window

on the monitor screen was used to suppress the visuospatial sketchpad of working memory. Each

of these dots was 100x100 pixels square which is colored either black or white. The display was

a 10000x8000 pixels rectangle consisting of these 100~x100 black or white colored squares. Two

hundred of these small squares turned on and off randomly every 200ms and created the dynamic

visual display (Fig-1).

Autobiographical Memory Task

Neutral nouns that are likely to elicit autobiographical memories were used as cue words.

There were a total of 30 cue words (Appendix A). Participants were given the following

instructions:

"We want you to remember an event from your life that each word reminds you of. Any

event will do as long as it is a single event that lasted less than a day, and occurred at a particular

time and a place. The events could have occurred at any time in your life, they may be important

or trivial, but they should be real events. If you remember something that happened today, please

try to remember something else. Also if you remember the same memory again for another word,










please try to remember a new memory. We will record your memories without any identifiers for

the filename, so please try to include as many details (e.g. why, where, when, who, how) as you

could in your memories."

Participants were also given an example memory that demonstrates the difference between

general and specific autobiographical memories. Before they started the experiment, they were

presented with a practice cue word and asked to recall an event. The difference between general

and specific autobiographical memories was demonstrated once again on their personal

memories.

Autobiographical Memory Characteristics Questionnaire

In order to investigate the phenomenological characteristics of the recalled memories that

are of interest to the current study (visual and phonological/language), participants were asked to

answer an autobiographical memory characteristic questionnaire, which included questions about

the pleasantness and intensity of emotions, degree to which the memory was experienced as an

auditory event, linguistic characteristics, imagery, location, time travel, typicality, personal

uniqueness, and age of memory (Appendix B).
































Figure 2-1. A static representation of the visual dynamic noise used in Experiments 1 and 2. The
display measured 10000x8000 pixels consisting of 100x100 pixels squares on the
computer screen and 200 of these squares moved randomly every 200ms.









CHAPTER 3
EXPERIMENT 1

Introduction

Conway and Pleydell-Pearce (2000) distinguished between two stages of autobiographical

memory retrieval; search and elaboration phases. Search phase refers to the actual search for a

memory, after being presented with some sort of cue. Elaboration starts just after one recalls a

memory in response to the cues. This phase has more to do with the organization of memories

into a coherent story. Experiment 1 examined the effects of visual and phonological noises on the

search phase of autobiographical recall.

Method

Participants

Participants were recruited from the general psychology participant pool at the University

of Florida. They received credits towards their course for participation. A total of 91 participants

took part in the experiment (63 females) from ages 18 to 23. Thirty-one of them were randomly

assigned to visual noise condition, another 31 to auditory noise condition, and the remaining

were assigned to control group (26 of them to auditory first condition).

Procedure

The materials and tasks that were described in the previous chapter were used. In order to

ensure the exposure to noise, participants in the visual noise condition were told they would be

seeing some dots moving around randomly on the screen and they needed to be looking at the

screen at all times when they were trying to recall a memory. They were told not to look around

nor close their eyes. Since participants in the auditory condition had to wear earphones, they

were not specifically told to listen to the passage.









Each trial in the experiment started with the visual or auditory noise, depending on the

experimental group the participant is assigned. After being exposed to the noise for 3 seconds,

participants in visual noise condition heard the cue words through earphones. Auditory noise

participants were shown the cue word on the computer screen. Participants in both conditions

had to indicate the retrieval of a memory by pressing any key. Then, they talked about the

recalled event while the experimenter was inside the room with the participant. The trial finished

after the participant answered the questions about the event and then the next trial started. All

participants were given 10 seconds to recall a memory and if they could not remember one

during this time they were presented with the next cue word.

Participants in the control group were not exposed to any of the visual or auditory noise

conditions. They were presented the half of the same cue words visually on the computer screen

and the other half were presented auditorily through headphones. The order of this presentation

was counterbalanced so that half of the control group participants saw the first half of the cue

words on the screen and heard the other half through the headphones. The other half of the

participants started with the auditory cues and finished with visual cues.

Results

First, responses for each participant were averaged across trials for response time, as well

as for each of the various characteristics of autobiographical memories (age at event, intensity of

emotions, etc). Mean and standard errors of these variables across participants are shown in

Table 3-1.

The probability of recalling a memory within the 10s limit was similar for the three groups.

On the other hand, comparison of response times across condition in Table 1 suggests that visual

noise led to faster responses than the other two conditions. Regarding the phenomenological

ratings, the visual noise condition appeared to lead to higher ratings than auditory noise









condition for imagery, auditory experience, time travel, and linguistic characteristics, whereas

auditory noise condition had higher ratings on negativity, typicality, and uniqueness compared to

visual noise condition. They have similar ratings on positivity, intensity, location, and

specificity. Age of memory did not appear to differ across conditions.

Effects of Visual versus Auditory Presentation of Cue Words: Control Group

Prior to the main analyses, the data from the control group was examined in order to test if

presentation mode of cue words affected the response variables, since this differed for the

auditory and visual noise conditions. The response variables for the model tested included mean

response time, mean age of memories, and mean ratings for (a) imagery, (b) auditory experience,

(c) linguistic relatedness, (d) personal uniqueness, (e) typicality, and (f) specificity for

autobiographical memories. The specificity rating was obtained by summing the ratings for

location remembrance and ratings for ability to travel in time when recalling the memory. Means

and standard errors of response variables across presentation mode are shown in Table 3-2. A

repeated measures mixed model analysis was performed using order of cue word presentation

(visual first vs. auditory first), mode of presentation (visual or auditory), and interaction between

them. The analysis is weighted by the number of memories each participant recalled (Table 3-3).

Results showed that main effect of presentation mode was not significant (F(1,27)= .03, p>.1i).

That is, the mode of presentation did not have any effect on the reaction times. However, the

main effect of order of presentation and interaction effect was significant (F(1,27)= .03, p=.012,

and F(1,27)= 6.90, p=.015, respectively). Auditory first conditions were faster than the visual

first conditions on average. Visually presented cues led to faster reactions times in auditory first

condition compared to visual first condition. Therefore, these results suggest that mode of

presentation did not affect the reaction times of the memories recalled.









For the response variables imagery, auditory experience, linguistic characteristics,

specificity, number of memories recalled, and age of memories, none of the predictors were

significant. However, typicality and personal uniqueness were affected by the presentation mode.

Memories for visually presented cue words got higher ratings for both typicality and personal

uniqueness. The main effect of order and the interaction were not statistically significant.

Analysis of residual plots and the distributions (Fig 3-1, Fig 3-2, and Fig 3-3) for all the

response variables did not reveal any anomalies or systematic patterns that would indicate

problems with normality, homogeneity of variances, and fit of the models.

Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories

The lack of an overall effect of modality of cue word presentation in the control group

indicates that the two experimental groups, which used different cue presentation modalities,

may be directly compared. In order to test the effect of auditory and visual noise on

autobiographical memories, a multivariate ANOVA was followed by a series of independent

ANOVA analyses. For this set of analyses, if the participant was unable to recall a memory in

given interval, response time is set to missing; that is, only those trials in which participant

recalled an event were averaged to obtain the average response variables. The analyses were

again weighted by the number of memories recalled by each participant.

The same response variables as the previous repeated measures ANOVA model were used

in MANOVA. Independent variables included in the model were type of noise (auditory vs.

visual), gender of the participants, and the two-way interaction between type of noise and

gender.

Results of MANOVA showed that there was a main effect of type of noise on the

composite response variable, Wilks' h= .55 (F(9,30)= 2.74, p=.02).Since this result revealed that

type of noise affected the composite multivariate response variable, independent ANOVA










analysis were conducted for each of the individual response variables. The same independent

variables and the model that was used in MANOVA were adopted for all further analysis (Table

3-4).

For response time, ANOVA results showed that there was a significant main effect of type

of noise (F(1,60)= 33.73, p<.0001). Memories in visual noise condition were retrieved more

quickly than were memories in the auditory noise condition. However, there were no differences

between visual and auditory noises in terms of number of memories recalled.

The following analyses compared the phenomenological aspects of memories of different

experimental conditions. For ratings of imagery, auditory experience, linguistic characteristics,

specificity, and age of memory, none of the variables in the model were statistically significant.

For the mean ratings of typicality, participants in the visual noise condition rated their memories

to be marginally less unique than the memories of participants in the auditory noise condition

(F(,60)= 3.61, p=.06). Moreover, memories of participants in auditory condition were rated to be

more personally unique than that of control group (F(1,60)= 3.65, p=.06).

Data from the control (no noise) conditions were divided according to the mode of cue

word presentation (visual vs. auditory). The auditory portion of the data was used as the control

for visual noise condition whereas visual portion of the data was used as the control for auditory

noise condition. For this analysis, the same response variables were used as previously. The

model included the independent variable noise (noise vs. control) (Table 3-5 and Table 3-6).

Response times in the visual noise condition were faster than the control group (F(1,58)=

34.57, p<.0001). The comparison between auditory noise condition and corresponding control

group showed that participants in the auditory noise condition were marginally faster than

control group (F(1,58)= 3.82, p=.055). With respect to the number of memories recalled, there










were no differences between visual noise group and control group and auditory noise group and

control group.

In terms of the linguistic characteristics of memories, participants in auditory noise

condition rated their memories to be less linguistic in nature compared to the corresponding

control group (F(1,58)= 5, p= .03). Furthermore, auditory noise condition led to memories with

marginally less auditory experience compared to memories of the control group. However, there

were no differences between visual noise condition and corresponding control group with respect

to the linguistic characteristics of the memories recalled and the auditory experience.

Additionally, for mean ratings of imagery, typicality, uniqueness, specificity, and age of

memory, none of the variables in the model were statistically significant for both visual noise to

control group and auditory noise to control group comparisons.

Finally, in order to find out if the response time for retrieving a memory affected the

qualities of the recalled memories a series of correlations analyses were performed. First, data for

individual trials were used to calculate the correlations by noise conditions (Table 3-7). Results

for the visual noise condition showed that there were significant negative correlations between

imagery, auditory qualities, time travel, typicality, uniqueness, and linguistic characteristics. The

auditory noise condition, on the other hand, showed that the only significant correlation was the

negative correlation between imagery and response times. Control group results showed that the

negative correlation between imagery and response times was significant as well as the positive

correlation between linguistic characteristics and age at memory. However, all of these

correlation coefficients were less than .15, which corresponds to less than 2.5% of the total

variance.









After these individual trial analyses, data for the mean response variables across trials were

used to compute the correlations (Table 3-8). Results showed that for the control group, there

was a significant positive correlation between linguistic characteristics and response times with a

coefficient of .240. However, for both visual and auditory noise conditions none of the

correlations were statistically significant.













Measure Vi sual Auditory Control
Response Time (s) 4.36 (0.09) 5.99 (0.1) 6.62 (0.11)
Percent Recall 0.73 (0.01) 0.75 (0.01) 0.73 (0.02)

Attribute Ratings
Positivity 4.73 (0.09) 4.71 (0.08) 4.95 (0.08)
Negativity 2.72 (0.08) 2.86 (0.08) 2.89 (0.08)
Intensity 3.91 (0.07) 3.98 (0.07) 4.06 (0.07)
Imagery 5.97 (0.05) 5.78 (0.05) 5.82 (0.05)
Auditory Experience 4.25 (0.08) 3.96 (0.08) 4.71 (0.08)
Location 6.36 (0.05) 6.34 (0.04) 6.17 (0.05)
Time Travel 5.31 (0.06) 4.90 (0.07) 5.05 (0.07)
Typicality 3.59 (0.07) 4.10 (0.07) 4.02 (0.08)
Uniqueness 4.23 (0.08) 4.74 (0.07) 4.51 (0.08)
Linguistic Characteristics 3.36 (0.07) 3.01 (0.07) 4.07 (0.08)
Age at event 15.15 (0.32) 15.67 (0.17) 15.29 (0.26)
Specificity 11.66 (0.09) 11.24 (0.09) 11.22 (0.09)
Age of Memory 3.69 (0.33) 3.29 (0.16) 4.26 (0.25)


Table 3-1. Mean and standard error of response variables by type of noise









Table 3-2. Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control
group


Auditory
6.52 (0.16)
0.75 (0.02)


4.95 (0.11)
2.84 (0.11)
3.98 (0.1)
5.8 (0.07)
4.68 (0.11)
6.14 (0.07)
5.07 (0.09)
3.88 (0.11)
4.28 (0.11)
4.01 (0.11)
15.18 (0.36)
11.22 (0.13)
4.35 (0.35)


Vi sual
6.72 (0.15)
0.71 (0.02)


4.94 (0.12)
2.95 (0.12)
4.15 (0.11)
5.84 (0.07)
4.75 (0.12)
6.19 (0.07)
5.03 (0.1)
4.17 (0.12)
4.75 (0.12)
4.13 (0.13)
15.41 (0.39)
11.22 (0.14)
4.15 (0.36)


Measure
Response Time (s)
Percent Recall

Attribute Ratings
Positivity
Negativity
Intensity
Imagery
Auditory Experience
Location
Time Travel
Typicality
Uniqueness
Linguistic Characteristics
Age at event
Specificity
Age ofMemory










Table 3-3. Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects


Response Variable Order Presentation Mode Order*Presentation Mode
Response Time (s) 7.31** 0.03 6.9**
Imagery 0.39 0.01 0.16
Auditory Experience 0.13 0.32 1.53
Typicality 0.05 4.71** 2.13
Uniqueness 0.45 6.36** 0.32
Linguistic Characteristics 1.53 0.38 0.08
Specificity 0.33 0.18 1.66
Age of Memory 1.68 0.19 0.02
Percent Recall 0.07 0.32 0.35
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 3-4. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise


Measure Noise
Response Time (s) 33.73*****
Percent Recall 0.17

Attribute Ratings
Imagery 1.17
Auditory Experience 0.74
Typicality 3.61*
Uniqueness 3.65*
Linguistic Characteristics 0.80
Specificity 1.16
Age of Memory 0.06
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 3-5. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual noise to control group


Measure
Response Time (s)
Percent Recall

Attribute Ratings
Imagery
Auditory Experience
Typicality
Uniqueness
Linguistic Characteristics
Specificity
Age of Memory


Noi se
34.57*****
0.52


0.79
1.46
0.77
0.02
2.24
1.37
0.11


***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 3-6. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of auditory noise to control group


Measure Noise
Response Time (s) 3.82*
Percent Recall 0.98

Attribute Ratings
Imagery 0.09
Auditory Experience 3.49*
Typicality 0.06
Uniqueness 0
Linguistic Characteristics 5.00**
Specificity 0.02
Age of Memory 0
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 3-7. Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition



Measure Visual Noise Auditory Noise Control Group
Imagery -0.07* -0.08** -0.08*
Auditory Experience -0.89** 0.01 -0.06
Location -0.03 -0.01 -0.04
Time Travel -0.08** -0.06 0.04
Typicality -0.14**** 0.06 -0.04
Uniqueness -0.13*** 0.01 -0.06
Linguistic Characteristics -0.14**** 0.02 0.14****
Age of Memory -0.07 0.05 -0.09***
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 3-8. Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each participant with reaction time
by experimental condition


Measure Vi sual Auditory Control
Imagery 0.06 0.12 -0.11
Auditory Experience -0.12 0.15 -0.08
Typicality -0.30 0.06 -0.12
Uniqueness -0.11 0.18 -0.15
Linguistic Characteristics -0.27 0.05 0.24*
Specificity 0.05 -0.01 0.10
Age of Memory -0.08 -0.01 -0.12
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1














~IUt


14-


12-


101 O











2-








mo a, v o vm- 5 m

E a, o E- 0.c as





Figure 3-1. Box plots for the attribute ratings for the autobiographical memories













14000


12000


S10000-


8000-


6000-
O

FL 4000-


2000


0

Experiment 1 Experiment 2


Figure 3-2. Box plots for the response times for retrieving autobiographical memories for
experiment 1 and 2
















1.0-







0.8 T







0.0-




Experiment 1 Experiment 2

Figure 3-3. Box plots for the percent recall of autobiographical memories for experiment 1 and 2









CHAPTER 4
EXPERIMENT 2

Introduction

According to Conway and Pleydell-Pearce (2000), elaboration refers to the phase of

autobiographical memory recall which starts just after one indicates recalling a memory in

response to the cues, and continues until the memory is recounted. This phase has more to do

with the organization of memories into a coherent story. The purpose of Experiment 2 was to

examine the effects of visual and phonological noises on the elaboration phase of

autobiographical recall.

Method

Participants

Participants were recruited from the general psychology participant pool at the University

of Florida. They received credits towards their course for participation. A total of 82 participants

took part in the experiment (49 females) from ages 18 to 23. Twenty-six of them were assigned

to visual noise condition, 29 to auditory, and the remaining 27 were assigned to control group

(13 of them to auditory first condition).

Procedure

The same materials and tasks that were described in the previous chapter were used in

Experiment 2. In order to ensure the exposure to noise, participants in the visual noise condition

were told they would be seeing some dots moving around randomly on the screen and they

needed to be looking at the screen at all times when they were trying to think about a retrieved

memory. They were told not to look around or close their eyes. Since participants in the auditory

condition had to wear earphones, they were not specifically told to listen to the passage.









Each trial in the experiment started with the autobiographical memory task, regardless of

which group the participants were assigned. Once again, participants in visual noise condition

heard the cue words through earphones. Auditory noise participants were presented the cue word

on the computer screen. After participants indicated they have a memory by pressing a key,

depending on their assignment they were either exposed to one of the two noise condition (visual

or auditory) or no noise. Participants were exposed to these noises for 5 sec; control group had to

wait 5 sec without doing anything. Participants in the control group were told that they would be

able to talk about their memory after they were prompted by the program. Then, they talked

about the recalled event while the experimenter was inside the room with the participant. The

trial finished after the participant answered the questions about the event and then the next trial

started. All participants were given 10 seconds to recall a memory and if they could not

remember one during this time they were presented with the next cue word.

Participants in the control group were not exposed to any of the visual or auditory noise

conditions. They were presented the half of the same cue words visually on the computer screen

and the other half were presented auditorily through headphones. The order of this presentation if

counter balanced so that half of the control group participants saw the first half of the cue words

on the screen and heard the other half through the headphones. The other half of the participants

started with the auditory cues and finished with visual cues.

Results

As in Experiment 1, data for each participant was averaged across trials for response time,

as well as for each of the various characteristics of autobiographical memories (age at event,

intensity of emotions, etc). Mean and standard errors of these variables across participants are

shown Table 4-1.









Similar to the experiment 1, the probability of recalling a memory within the 10s limit was

similar for the three groups. However, once again, comparison of response times across

condition in Table 1 suggests that participants in visual and auditory noise conditions were faster

than participants in the control condition in recalling autobiographical memories. However, like

the experiment 1, in terms of autobiographical memory characteristics, there are not consistent

differences among different conditions. Visual noise condition seemed to have higher ratings

than auditory noise condition in auditory experience and typicality, on the other hand auditory

noise condition had higher negativity ratings than visual noise condition. Moreover, memories of

visual noise condition were older than the memories of auditory noise condition. There were no

differences between visual and auditory noise conditions in terms of positivity, intensity of

emotions, imagery, location, time travel, uniqueness, linguistic characteristics, specificity, and

percent recall.

Effects ff Visual versus Auditory Presentation of Cue Words: Control Group

As was the case in the experiment 1, before the main analyses, the control group data was

examined in order to examine if the mode of presentation affected any of the autobiographical

memory characteristics. The response variables for the model tested included mean response

time, mean age of memories, and mean ratings for (a) imagery, (b) auditory experience, (c)

linguistic relatedness, (d) personal uniqueness, (e) typicality, and (f) specificity for

autobiographical memories. The specificity rating was obtained by summing the ratings for

location remembrance and ratings for ability to travel in time when recalling the memory. Means

and standard errors of response variables across presentation mode are shown in Table 4-2. A

repeated-measures mixed model analysis was performed using order of cue word presentation

(visual first vs. auditory first), mode of presentation, and interaction between them as the

predictor variables. The analysis is weighted by the number of memories each participant









recalled (Table 4-3.). As in the experiment 1, the mode of presentation did not have any effect on

the reaction times (F(1,24)= .04, p>.1i). Moreover, the main effect of order of presentation was

not significant (F(1,24)= .14, p>.1i). However, the two-way interaction was statistically

significant (F(1,24)= 6.81, p=.015). Visually presented cues led to slower reactions times in

visual first condition compared to auditorily presented cues, whereas auditorily presented cues

led to slower response times in auditory first condition compared to visually presented cues.

These results suggest that overall, the mode of presentation did not affect the reaction times of

the memories recalled.

Results showed that main effect of presentation mode was not significant (F(1,24)= .04,

p>.1i). Like the first experiment the mode of presentation did not have any effect on the reaction

times. Moreover, the main effect of order of presentation was not significant (F(1,24)= .14,

p>.1i). However, the two-way interaction was statistically significant (F(1,24)= 6.81, p=.015).

Visually presented cues led to slower reactions times in visual first condition compared to

auditorily presented cues, whereas auditorily presented cues led to slower response times in

auditory first condition compared to visually presented cues.

Similar to experiment 1, for the response variables imagery, auditory experience, linguistic

characteristics, typicality, personal uniqueness, specificity, and age of memories, none of the

predictors were significant.

Analysis of residual plots and distributions (Fig 3-2, Fig 3-3, and Fig 4-1) for all the

response variables did not reveal any anomalies or systematic patterns that would indicate

problems with normality, homogeneity of variances, and fit of the models.

Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories

The lack of an overall effect of modality of cue word presentation in the control group

indicated that the two experimental groups, which used different cue presentation modalities,










may be directly compared, similar to the evaluation of cue mode in experiment 1, A multivariate

ANOVA which was followed by a series of independent ANOVA analyses were performed in

order to test the effect of auditory and visual noise on autobiographical memories. Once again,

the analyses were weighted by the number of memories recalled by each participant.

The same response variables as the previous repeated measures ANOVA model were used

in MANOVA. The only independent variable that was included in the model was the type of

noise (auditory vs. visual).

Results of MANOVA showed that there was a main effect of type of noise on the

composite response variable, Wilks' h= .84 (F(9,45)= 8.93, p>.10). One of the shortcomings of

the multivariate ANOVA is that even if there are significant differences in only some of the

dependent variables but not all of them, the effect of the manipulation could still come out

insignificant. Even though, the MANOVA results revealed that type of noise did not affect the

composite multivariate response variable, independent ANOVA analysis were still conducted for

each of the individual response variables. The same independent variables and the model that

was used in MANOVA were adopted for all further analysis (Table 4-4).

For response time, unlike the experiment 1, mixed models analysis results showed that the

main effect of noise was not significant (F(1,53)= .49, p>. 10). There were also no differences

between the two noise conditions with regards to the probability of recalling autobiographical

memories

Similar to the analyses of the experiment 1, in order to fully examine the effects of visual

and auditory noise on autobiographical memories other than response times, the following

analyses compared memories of different experimental conditions on phenomenological

characteristics of autobiographical memory.









Similar to the results of the experiment 1, the mean ratings of imagery, auditory

experience, typicality, personal uniqueness, linguistic characteristics, specificity, and age of

memory did not differ between the visual and auditory noises.

Data from the control (no-noise) conditions were again divided into two according to the

mode of cue word presentation (visual vs. auditory). The auditory portion of the data was used as

the control for visual noise condition whereas visual portion of the data was used as the control

for auditory noise condition. For this analysis, the same response variables were used as

previously. The only independent variable in the model was noise (noise vs. control) (Table 4-5

and Table 4-6).

Similar to experiment 1, response times in noise condition were faster than the control

group (F(1,51)= 9.89, p= .003).. Similarly, auditory noise condition led to faster response times

compared to the corresponding control group (F(1,54)= 10.28, p=.002). There were also no

differences between visual noise and control group and auditory noise and control group in terms

of probability of recalling autobiographical memories (F(1,51)= .78, p>. 10 and F(1,54)= .32,

p>. 10, respectively).

For the comparison between visual noise and the control group counterpart, results showed

that visual noise did not affect imagery, auditory experience, typicality, personal uniqueness,

linguistic characteristics, specificity, and age of memory.

Comparing auditory noise condition to corresponding control group, the results showed

that memories in auditory noise condition were marginally more specific than the memories in

the control group (F(1,54)= 3.13, p= 0.08). However, there were no differences between the

memories in the auditory noise condition and memories of the control group in imagery, auditory

experience, typicality, personal uniqueness, linguistic characteristics, and age of memory.









Finally, in order to examine the relationship between the response times for retrieving a

memory and the qualities of the recalled memories, a series of correlations analyses were

performed. First, data for individual trials were used to calculate the correlations for each

experimental condition (Table 4-7). Results for the visual noise condition showed that the

correlations between auditory qualities and time travel were significantly positive whereas the

correlations between uniqueness and response time and age of memory and response time were

significantly negative. Results of the auditory noise condition showed that there were significant

negative correlations between imagery and response times and uniqueness and response times.

Control group results showed that the negative correlations between time travel and response

time and age of memory and response time were significant. However, all of these correlation

coefficients were less than .105, which corresponded to the explained variance of 1.1% or less.

After these individual trial analyses, data for the mean response variables across trials were

used to compute the correlations (Table 4-8). Results showed that for the visual noise condition

there was a significant positive correlation between linguistic characteristics and response times

and a negative significant correlations between age of memories and response times, the

correlation coefficients were .428 and -.782, respectively. For the auditory noise condition and

control groups age of memories were significantly and negatively correlated, with coefficients of

-.915 and -.824, respectively.
































V _I \j \j \j


Table 4-1. Mean and standard error of response variables by experimental groups


Gender
Response Time (s)
Percent Recall

Attribute Ratings
Positivity
Negativity
Intensity
Imagery
Auditory Experience
Location
Time Travel
Typicality
Uniqueness
Linguistic Characteristics
Age at event
Specificity
Age of Memory


Vi sual
7.06 (0.09)
0.67 (0.17)


5.12 (0.09)
2.45 (0.08)
3.91 (0.08)
5.84 (0.06)
4.46 (0.09)
6.27 (0.05)
5.26 (0.07)
3.71 (0.09)
4.50 (0.09)
2.88 (0.08)
15.65 (0.20)

3.66 (0.19)


Auditory
6.96 (0.10)
0.63 (0.17)


4.90 (0.09)
2.68 (0.09)
3.73 (0.07)
5.87 (0.05)
4.24 (0.09)
6.27 (0.05)
5.26 (0.06)
3.94 (0.09)
4.57 (0.08)
3.07 (0.08)
15.20 (0.21)
11.53 (0.09)
4.27 (0.22)


Control
8.42 (0.12)
0.70 (0.02)


4.56 (0.09)
3.03 (0.09)
3.66 (0.07)
5.60 (0.05)
3.97 (0.08)
6.06 (0.05)
4.92 (0.07)
3.52 (0.08)
4.20 (0.09)
3.38 (0.08)
15.44 (0.20)
10.98 (0.10)
4.11 (0.20)














Measure
Response Time (s)
Percent Recall

Attribute Ratings
Positivity
Negativity
Intensity
Imagery
Auditory Experience
Location
Time Travel
Typicality
Uniqueness
Linguistic Characteristics
Age at event
Specificity
Age of Memory


Auditory
8.29 (0.18)
0.74 (0.02)


4.65 (0.12)
2.98 (0.12)
3.64 (0.1)
5.63 (0.07)
3.88 (0.11)
6.13 (0.07)
4.92 (0.09)
3.45 (0.11)
4.08 (0.12)
3.45 (0.1)
15.53 (0.27)
11.04 (0.13)
4.02 (0.28)


Vi sual
8.55 (0.19)
0.65 (0.02)


4.46 (0.13)
3.11 (0.13)
3.69 (0.11)
5.57 (0.09)
4.07 (0.12)
5.98 (0.08)
4.93 (0.1)
3.61 (0.12)
4.33 (0.13)
3.3 (0.11)
15.35 (0.28)
10.91 (0.15)
4.21 (0.29)


Table 4-2. Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control
group















Response Time (s) 0.14 0.04 6.81**
Imagery 1.78 0.07 0.41
Auditory Experience 0.01 1.53 0.01
Typicality 0.71 0.48 0.61
Uniqueness 1.46 0.91 0.09
Linguistic Characteristics 0 0.26 0
Specificity 0.01 0.17 0.06
Age of Memory 0.51 4.98** 0.06
Percent Recall 1.5 0.08 0
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1


Table 4-3. Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects


Response Variable


Order Presentation Mode Order*Presentation Mode










Table 4-4. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise


Measure Noise
Response Time (s) 0.49
Percent Recall 0.73

Attribute Ratings
Imagery 0.02
Auditory Experience 0.35
Typicality 0.63
Uniqueness 0.07
Linguistic Characteristics 0.22
Specificity 0
Age of Memory 0.6
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 4-5. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual noise to control group


Measure Noise
Response Time (s) 9.89****
Percent Recall 0.28

Attribute Ratings
Imagery 0.8
Auditory Experience 2.31
Typicality 0.71
Uniqueness 2.03
Linguistic Characteristics 1.65
Specificity 1.16
Age of Memory 0.78
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 4-6. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of auditory noise to control group


Measure Noise
Response Time (s) 10.28****
Percent Recall 0

Attribute Ratings
Imagery 1.99
Auditory Experience 0.19
Typicality 0.93
Uniqueness 0.48
Linguistic Characteristics 0.26
Specificity 3.13*
Age of Memory 0.32
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 4-7. Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition

Measure Visual Noise Auditory Noise Control Group
Imagery -0.01 -0.09** -0.02
Auditory Experience 0.07* 0.04 -0.02
Location -0.01 -0.11** 0.06
Time Travel 0.08* -0.03 -0.08*
Typicality -0.02 -0.10** -0.02
Uniqueness -0.08* -0.06 0.01
Linguistic Characteristics 0.07 0.05 -0.03
Age of Memory -0.07* -0.01 -0.09**
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1










Table 4-8. Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each participant with response time
by experimental condition


Measure Vi sual Auditory Control
Imagery -0.29 -0.24 0.04
Auditory Experience 0.18 0.01 -0.07
Typicality -0.01 -0.17 0.02
Uniqueness 0.16 -0.12 0.27
Linguistic Characteristics 0.43** 0.13 -0.19
Specificity -0.03 -0.18 0.04
Age of Memory -0.78***** -0.91***** -0.82****
***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1













~IUt


14-


12 -1 O


10-



8-g

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2 -1 O


0-" 6 X "


IIIIIIIIIv




Figur 4-1 Box plot fo th trbtainsfrteatbogahclmmre








65 o









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

Results of the present study showed that some aspects of the processing of

autobiographical memories were affected by auditory or visual noise. The experiment 1 was

conducted to examine the effects of task-irrelevant noise on the search phase of autobiographical

memories, whereas the aim of the second experiment was to investigate the effects of visual and

auditory noise on the elaboration phase of the autobiographical memory retrieval. The main

findings of these two experiments will be summarized below, followed by a discussion of the

results.

Examination of the control group data verified that the presentation mode of cue words

(visual or auditory) did not affect the autobiographical memory characteristics except the

typicality and personal uniqueness dimensions. Results of the experiment 1 showed that noise

condition (visual and auditory) led to shorter response times in retrieving autobiographical

memories compared to the control conditions. However, there were few systematic differences in

the quality of the retrieved memories in the face of different kinds of noise, despite the

differences in retrieval times for these two conditions. The only differences between visual and

auditory noise conditions were related to typicality and personal uniqueness of memories:

Memories in visual noise condition were found to be more typical, and less personally unique,

compared to the memories in auditory noise conditions. However, these two results were

difficult to interpret because they were found to be affected by the modality of the cue word

presentation.

Additionally, the effects of noise manipulations on autobiographical memory retrieval

were tested by comparing each noise condition to its matching control group. Interestingly,

participants in both of the noise conditions were faster than the control group. However, the only









differences related to the phenomenological characteristics appeared in the auditory noise to

control group comparison. Auditory noise condition led to memories that were less verbal and

included less auditory characteristics.

Results of the experiment 1 also showed that the correlations between response time to

recall a memory and the memory characteristics were not of a size to be theoretically significant;

even though some of the correlations were statistically significant, they predicted at best less that

2.5% of the variance. When the data averaged across trials for each participant used, the only

significant correlation was obtained between linguistic characteristics and response times, in

which the memories that took longer to retrieve had higher ratings in linguistic characteristics.

Results of the experiment 2 showed that there were no differences between memories in

visual noise condition and memories in auditory noise condition. However, like the experiment

1, response times for memories in both of the noise conditions were faster than the response time

for recalling a memory in the control group. Moreover, memories of auditory noise condition

were more specific than that of control group. There were no other significant results. As in

Experiment 1, when the data for each trial were used to compute the correlations between

response time and memory characteristics, results showed that even though some of the

correlations were statistically significant, they again were not of a size to be theoretically

significant, accounting for only 1.2% or less of the total variance. When the data averaged across

trials were used, results showed that for all three groups longer response times were associated

with recent memories. It was also found that for visual noise condition, the longer the response

time the higher ratings did the memories receive for linguistic characteristics.

Results of the experiment 1 showed that, compared to auditory noise, visual noise led to

faster reaction times in retrieving an autobiographical memory. These results might suggest that










search phase of the autobiographical memory is more sensitive to auditory manipulations. This,

in turn, implies that autobiographical memory search depends more on auditory/phonologi cal

mechanism compared to visual cues/mechanism. This account would contradict the description

of how autobiographical memories are retrieved given by Conway (1996), which emphasizes the

role of early retrieval of visual images that serve as retrieval cues for the autobiographical

memories proper. This account was also supported by the results of the comparison between

auditory noise condition and control group. It was found that the memories from the auditory

noise condition had less auditory qualities and were less verbal than the memories of control

group.

However, this picture is complicated by the comparison of the noise conditions to the

control group. Contrary to expectations, memories from any of the noise conditions, in both

experiment 1 and 2, recalled faster than control conditions. According to the principles of affect

infusion model (AIM) (Bower & Forgas, 2000; Forgas, 1995), both visual and auditory noise

should have resulted in less cognitive capacity to spend in autobiographical memory search.

Also, previous studies such as William et al. (2006) showed that a secondary task leads to more

general memories. Yet, participants in any of these noise conditions were faster than control

groups.

These results might suggest that the noise conditions could be activating the areas of the

brain directly involved in autobiographical memory search even before participants were

presented the cue words. They may be somehow priming code-specific neural networks,

preparing those areas for the autobiographical memory task. Therefore, in both of the noise

conditions participants were faster than the control group participants. This explanation could

also be used to explain the differences between memories of visual and auditory noises in terms









of response times. The memories in visual noise conditions were retrieved faster than the

memories in auditory noise condition, so this implies that visual noise makes participant more

ready that auditory noise. This in turn suggests, along the lines of Conway's (1996)

autobiographical memory retrieval, that autobiographical memory search phase is more sensitive

to and depends on visual cues compared to auditory cues. This appears to be a simpler

explanation of the pattern of results, than one positing a general arousing effect of the noise,

superimposed on a greater interference effect for auditory than for visual noise.

Another explanation for the slower reaction times in control group might be that the visual

and, to a greater degree, auditory noise was an aversive stimulus, leading participants to press the

key to indicate they have a memory and get rid of the noise. However, this is not very likely.

First, participants who were interviewed after the experiment reported that they were not really

bothered by the noise and they were able to block the noise out and stay focused on

autobiographical memory task. Second, if participants would have been forced to press the keys

early to come up with a memory, there should have been some differences in phenomenological

characteristics of the "speeded" memories in noise conditions compared to control conditions. As

discussed below, this was not observed in the current experiments. Finally, the fact that visual

and auditory noise produced faster responses even in the second experiment, where the response

led to the presentation rather than the termination of the noise, would seem inconsistent with the

"annoyance" explanation of the findings, and more consistent with a general activation account.

Even though both Bower & Forgas (2000; Forgas, 1995) and Williams et al. (2006)

mentioned cognitive capacity as a factor that might affect some aspects of autobiographical

memory retrieval, neither suggests anything about the response times for autobiographical

memory retrieval. It might be the case that these noise conditions lead to memories that are less










specific compared to control conditions. These less specific memories would probably have been

retrieved form an upper level of autobiographical knowledge base compared to more specific

memories, therefore resulting in faster response times.

But there were no such differences between visual and auditory noise conditions despite

the (small) response time differences. There were differences between noise conditions with

respect to the typicality and personal uniqueness dimensions. However, these two characteristics

found to be affected by the modality of cue words, therefore they are difficult to interpret.

Comparing the memories of auditory noise condition to the memories of control group

showed that auditory noise affected the memories as expected from a cognitive load perspective

at least on two specific attributes: Memories from the auditory noise condition were rated as

having less auditory experience and were less verbal than the memories of control group. If the

auditory noise manipulation decreased the amount of available cognitive capacity by clouding

the phonological loop of the working memory, there would be less capacity to employ for the

necessities of an autobiographical task. This could, in turn, lead to memories that are less verbal

and have less auditory characteristics. However, this explanation conflicts with the previous

account about the relationship between auditory or visual noise and response time.

Moreover, the similar account did not worked out for the visual noise condition. According

to the cognitive capacity point of view, visual noise should have resulted in memories that have

less visual and imagery characteristics than the control group. But the results of the both

experiment failed to reveal any effect of visual noise on autobiographical memories except

response times.

Overall, these two experiments showed that a very subtle manipulation like visual or

auditory noise affected autobiographical memories in some dimensions. On the one hand,










manipulations of working memory load such as the ones used by William et al. decreased the

working memory capacity that could be allocated to the autobiographical task, which in turn led

to more general memories. One of the aims of the current experiment was to test the effect of

cognitive load that is manipulated using more ecological approaches to cognition. Visual and

auditory noise are just the sorts of examples of interference one could face in daily life situations

while trying to retrieve an autobiographical memory. The results of these experiments suggest

that autobiographical memory retrieval is very robust to manipulations of this sort.

However, one can think of situations or manipulations that would increase the demand on

the working memory capacity and might hinder autobiographical memory retrieval. For the

manipulations of the current study, the demands of the visual task could be increased by

increasing the number of dots moving at any moment or increasing the speed of the moving dots.

The demands of the auditory task could be increased by adding another person with a

mismatching gender, alternating the gender of the voice, or adding random noises every now and

then.

There are several limitations of the current study. First, there were no qualitative analyses

of the memories other than the participants' own ratings. It might be the case that there are in

fact some other effects of the noise conditions that were not picked by the autobiographical

memory questionnaire but need a more detailed qualitative analysis such as the number of details

included in the memory, narrative structure, etc. A second limitation is related to the control

group. In order to utilize time, this study divided the cue words into two conditions, and

presented half of them visually and the other half auditorily to the same participant. Ideally there

should have been two control groups, one of which the cue words are presented visually and for

the other one cue words are presented auditorily. Another limitation of the study is that the










sample came from the college freshman students. Studies of autobiographical memory are

especially prone to the sample population. Studies with adults give a larger pool of diverse

autobiographical memories. Finally, an ecological approach to cognition would suggest

incorporation of demographics such as gender, race, etc. in the analyses. However, for the

current study it was not feasible to control for those variables.

In summary, present results showed that that the speed and, to a limited degree, the content

and structure of autobiographical memories were affected by a subtle manipulation of working

memory capacity that was intended to interfere with one of the two maj or "slave systems" of

working memory, namely auditory or visual stores, but appeared rather to activate or prime

retrieval of these memories, at least in some ways. On the other hand, the results also suggested

that in terms of the phenomenological characteristics, at least, autobiographical memory retrieval

was in large part unaffected by what might be thought of as everyday noisy conditions. This

makes perfect sense in terms of the functionality of autobiographical memory in everyday life.

Facing the complexity, randomness, and interference from many sources, it is very important to

have autobiographical memory available as we go through our daily lives.










APPENDIX A
LIST OF CUE WORDS

1. Beach


2. Birthday

3. Cat

4. Dinner

5. Dress

6. Elevator

7. Hotel

8. Movie

9. Plane

10. Restaurant

11. Watch

12. Bathroom

13. Bus

14. Cake

15. Ca


16. Computer

17. Dog

18. Father

19. Garden

20. Gift

21. Holiday

22. Key











23. Museum


24. Music


25. Perfume


26. Pizza


27. Seat


28. Tree


29. Umbrella


30. Water.





APPENDIX B
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL IVEMORY QUESTIONNAIRE

1. While remembering the event, the emotions are positive.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all hardly somewhat entirely

2. While remembering the event, the emotions are negative.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all hardly somewhat entirely


-I


3. The emotions that I feel are intense.

1 2 3 4


5 6


entirely






as clearly as if it

were happening now


not at all hardly somewhat

4. While remembering the event, I can see it in my mind.

1 2 3 4 5 6

not at all vaguely di stinctly



5. While remembering the event, I can hear it in my mind.

1 2 3 4 5 6

not at all vaguely di stinctly as cl


were happening now

6. While remembering the event, I know the setting where it occurred.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all vaguely di stinctly as clearly as if it


early as if it


were happening now










7. While remembering the event, I feel that I travel back to the time when it happened.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all vaguely distinctly completely

8. My memory is unique to my life, I would not expect most people to have similar

memories.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all in some details in some main points completely

9. My memory is unique among my other memories; I do not have other similar memories.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all in some details in some main points completely

10. While remembering the event, it comes to me in words.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

not at all vaguely di stinctly completely

11. How old are you in this memory? years old










LIST OF REFERENCES


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Khilstrom, G. H. Bower, J. P. Forgas, & P. M. Niedenthal (Eds.), Cognition andEnrotion
(Pp. 87-169). New York: Oxford University Press.

Comblain, C., D'argembeau, A., & Van Der Linden, M. (2005). Phenomenal characteristics of
autobiographical memories for emotional and neutral events in older and younger adults.
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Conway, M. A. & Pleydell-Pearce, C. W. (2000). The construction of autobiographical
memories in the self-memory system. Psychological Review, 107, 261-288.

Conway, M. A. (1996). Autobiographical memory. In E. L. Bjork & R. A. Bjork (Eds.),
M~entoy: Handbook of perception and cogrition (2nd ed.) (pp. 165-194). San Diego, CA,
US: Academic Press, Inc.

Forgas, J. P. (1995). Mood and judgment: The affect infusion model (AIM). Psychological
Bulletin, 117, 39-66.

Forgas, J. P. (1999). Network theories and beyond. In T. Dalgeish & M. Power (Eds.), Handbook
of cogrition and emotion (Pp. 591-61 1). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Haque, S. & Conway, M. A. (2001). Sampling the process of autobiographical memory
construction. European Journal of Cogritive psychology, 13, 529-547.

Harvey, A.G., Bryant, R.A., & Dang, S.T. (1998). Autobiographical memory in acute stress
disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 66, 500-506.

Kuyken, W., & Brewin, C. R. (1995). Autobiographical memory functioning in depression and
reports of early abuse. Journal ofAbnornzal Psychology, 104, 585-591.

Logie, R. H., Zucco, G. M., Baddeley, A. D. (1990). Interference with visual short-term memory.
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Philippot, P., Schaefer, A., & Herbette, G. (2003). Consequences of specific processing of
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Raes, F., Hermans, D., Williams, J. M. G., & Eelen, P. (2006). Reduced autobiographical
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Salame, P., Burglen, F., & Danion, J. M. (2006). Differential disruptions of working memory
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Schaefer A. & Philippot P. (2005). Selective effects of emotion on the phenomenal
characteristics of autobiographical memories. Memory, 13, 148-160.

Williams, J. M. G., Barnhofer, T., Crane, C., Herman D., Raes, F., Watkins, E., & Dalgleish, T.
(2007). Autobiographical memory specificity and emotional disorder. Psychological
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Williams, J. M. G., Chan, S., Crane, C., Barnhofer, T., Eade, J., & Healy, H. (2006). Retrieval of
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Cognition & Emotion, 20, 351-382.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Burhan Ogut was born on July 9, 1978 in Gaziantep, Turkey. He studied teaching physics

in college at Bogazici University-Istanbul, Turkey. He continued his education at Bogazici

University as a graduate student in cognitive psychology and received his Master of Arts degree

in 2003. He started the PhD program in cognitive psychology at the University of Florida in

2003 and received his PhD degree in cognitive psychology with a PhD minor in statistics in

2008.





PAGE 1

THE EFFECTS OF VISUAL AND AUDITO RY NOISE ON AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES By BURHAN OGUT A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008 1

PAGE 2

2008 Burhan Ogut 2

PAGE 3

To my parents 3

PAGE 4

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and uppermost, I would like to expre ss my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Ira Fischler. If it was not for him, I would have neve r finished this disserta tion on time. I feel very lucky and honored to meet him, have a chance to work with him, and most importantly learn from him. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had. What strikes me most about him is his extensive knowledge about, simply, everything. That is why; he is very open to new ideas. Just take a look at the kind of research he has supervised over the years and you will see how diverse his interests are. I wish I can be a scientist as good as him a nd make him proud. Ira, you are my role model and I will always miss your witty and clever remarks. I would also like to thank my committee members for their endless efforts. Thank you, Dr. Russell Bauer, Dr. Lise Abrams, Dr. Susan Bluc k and Dr. Trevor Park for all your help and support for my PhD studies and this dissertation. I am thankful to all my research assistants for their help in conducting the experiments. Thank you, Karlyn Klemmt, Matt Broderick, Kelseanne Breder, Christopher Diddle, Jesse Porter, and Dirk McNealy. I woul d never have the time to finish this dissertation without your help. I am especially grateful to Karlyn for her help in managing the day to day work in the laboratory. I would also like to thank Lu for her continuous encouragement and motivation for me to become better both professionally and personall y. You are one of my biggest inspirations. I am always grateful to my family for thei r support in all my d ecisions and their love. Without them, I would never be here. Last, but not least, Mike Mckay, I will alwa ys miss your laughs that would make the basements of psychology building warmer and lively. I miss you. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7 LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ..........................................................................................................9 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................................10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. .12 Aim of the Study .....................................................................................................................12 Autobiographical Memories ...................................................................................................12 Organization of Autobiographical Memories .........................................................................13 Affect Infusion Model ............................................................................................................15 Autobiographical Memory Retrieval ......................................................................................18 Cognitive Load .......................................................................................................................21 Irrelevant Speech Effects ........................................................................................................23 Irrelevant Pictorial Effects ......................................................................................................25 General Research Question .....................................................................................................26 2 COMMON METHOD............................................................................................................29 Phonological Loop Suppression ......................................................................................29 Visuospatial Sketchpad Suppression ...............................................................................29 Autobiographical Memory Task ......................................................................................29 Autobiographical Memory Ch aracteristics Questionnaire ..............................................30 3 EXPERIMENT 1................................................................................................................. ...32 Introduction .............................................................................................................................32 Method ....................................................................................................................................32 Participants ......................................................................................................................32 Procedure .........................................................................................................................32 Results .....................................................................................................................................33 Effects of Visual versus Auditory Pr esentation of Cue Words: Control Group ..............34 Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories ...................................................35 4 EXPERIMENT 2................................................................................................................. ...50 Introduction .............................................................................................................................50 5

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Method ....................................................................................................................................50 Participants ......................................................................................................................50 Procedure .........................................................................................................................50 Results .....................................................................................................................................51 Effects of Visual versus Auditory Pr esentation of Wue Words: Control Group ............52 Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories ...................................................53 5 DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... ......66 APPENDIX A LIST OF CUE WORDS.........................................................................................................73 B AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ME MORY QUESTIONNAIRE...................................................75 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................77 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................79 6

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-2 Mean and standard error of response va riables by mode of presentation for control group ..................................................................................................................................40 3-3. Repeated measures AN OVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects....................41 3-4 Mixed model F-test results for co mparison of visual to auditory noise............................42 3-5 Mixed model F-test results for comp arison of visual noise to control group ....................43 3-6 Mixed model F-test results for compar ison of auditory noise to control group................44 3-7 Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition ....45 3-8 Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each particip ant with reaction time by experimental condition ..................................................................................................46 4-1 Mean and standard error of re sponse variables by experimental groups ...........................57 4-2 Mean and standard error of response va riables by mode of pr esentation for control group ..................................................................................................................................58 4-3 Repeated measures AN OVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects....................59 4-4 Mixed model F-test results for co mparison of visual to auditory noise............................60 4-5 Mixed model F-test results for comp arison of visual noise to control group ....................61 4-6 Mixed model F-test results for compar ison of auditory noise to control group................62 4-7 Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition ....63 4-8 Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each particip ant with response time by experimental condition ..................................................................................................64 7

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 A static representation of the visual dynamic noise. ..........................................................31 3-1 Box plots for the attribute ratings for the autobiographical memories ..............................47 3-2 Box plots for the response times for experiment 1 and 2 ..................................................48 4-1 Box plots for the attribute ratings for the autobiographical memories ..............................65 8

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AIM Affect infusion model AM Autobiographical memories ANOVA Analysis of variance 9

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Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE EFFECTS OF VISUAL AND AUDITO RY NOISE ON AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES By Burhan Ogut August 2008 Chair: Ira Fischler Major: Psychology The present study examined the relati onship between working memory and autobiographical memory. Participants were pres ented with either auditory or visual noise concurrently with an autobiographical memory retr ieval task. The auditory and visual noise were intended to specifically interfere with the abilit y to utilize the phonologica l loop and visuospatial sketchpad components of working memory, respectiv ely. In Experiment 1, the visual or auditory noise began 3 sec before the presentation of an autobiographical memory cue word. Participants were asked to recall memories in response to the cue words, and then talk about the memory while being recorded. They then rated various ph enomenological characte ristics of the recalled event (e.g., imagery, auditory experience, linguis tic relatedness, uniqueness, typicality, etc.). Results showed that visual and auditory noise le d to faster, rather than slower, retrieval of autobiographical memories. Auditory noise also decreased the auditory a nd verbal qualities of the recalled memories compared to control group. There were no other effects of noise conditions on the phenomenological characteristic s of autobiographical memories. In a second experiment, presentation of visu al or auditory noise following retrieval of memories during a five-second period of memory maintenance similarl y had little effect on subsequent ratings of those memories. Results were discussed in the context of the robustnes s of autobiographical 10

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memory retrieval, and of autobiographical me mory characteristics and their relationship to working memory components. It is suggested that the additional auditory or visual stimulation may serve to prime, rather than interfere with, retrieval of autobiographical memory. 11

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Aim of the Study Research has shown that the structure and organization of autobiographical memories can be affected by many factors, in cluding but not limited to emotion (Schaefer & Philippot, 2005), depression (Kuyken & Brewin, 1995), post-traumatic stress disorder (H arvey, Bryant, & Dang, 1998), and cognitive load (Williams et al., 2006). Th e aim of this research was to examine the effect of certain kinds of cogniti ve load, namely the presence of concurrent loads on visual and auditory components of working memory, on the retrieval and evaluatio n of autobiographical episodes from long-term memory. Autobiographical Memories Autobiographical memory can be defined simply as an individuals memory for his/her own personal history (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). There are different classifications of memory, such as episodic, se mantic, declarative, pr ocedural, implicit, and explicit memories. However, it is not easy to classify autobiographical me mory as one type of memory in these terms. It seems awkward and somewhat misleading to try to divide autobiographical memories into such subcat egories, as they appear to include both spatiotemporal (episodic) and factual (semantic) knowledge (Conway, 1996). Hence, autobiographical memories can be understood to include both episodic and semantic memories. Autobiographical memories are not complete records of events; encoded memories are reconstructed each time at re call. These reconstructed memories include both sensoryperceptual and decontextualized informati on. Sensory perceptual knowledge makes the subjective reliving of the event possible, wherea s decontextualized knowledge gives some basic information about the event (Conw ay, 1996; Haque & Conway, 2001). 12

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Organization of Autobiographical Memories Autobiographical memories are proposed to have a unique organi zation. Conway (1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) suggested that the autobiographical knowledge base has three hierarchically organized levels: lifetim e periods, general events, and event-specific knowledge. Lifetime periods are long-lasting periods, usually in years, whic h have specific beginnings and endings. Aims, plans, and themes of the self in those time periods are encoded in this layer. Lifetime periods also include knowledge about significant others, locations, actions, and activities specific to those time periods. Theref ore, information encoded in lifetime periods includes both thematic and temporal knowledge about that specific period (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). General events are more precise than lif etime periods, and include information for extended and repeated events that have occurr ed over weeks and months. General events are more heterogeneous than lifetime periods, and th ere are typically numerous thematically-related events at this level. General events also in clude information by which knowledge and details of specific events and episodes can be accessed (C onway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). Event-specific knowledge includes sensor y-perceptual information (e.g., images, sensations, smells, thoughts) about the specific me mory. Therefore, it is related to the vividness and specificity of autobiographical memory (Conway, 1996; Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000). Bluck and Habermas (2000) proposed an additi onal level for autobiographical knowledge base, that of a life story schema. According to this view, a li fe story schema is the highest level of autobiographical knowledge ba se, which integrates and include s contextual information for the personal history of th e self in relation to past events a nd developments. The life story schema can be assumed to have connections to different lifetime period events, and it can give access to 13

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specific lifetime period events. With the help of th is schema a person becomes able to form a life story that is structured, coherent, evaluativ e, and based on actual events and transitions (p.128). According to Bluck and Habermas, life stories are important themes in life which might include the successes, turning points, even ts towards achieving a goal, and etc. Conway (1996; Conway & Pleyde ll-Pearce, 2000) modified a nd elaborated his model of autobiographical memory in response to an extensive program of empiri cal research by him and his colleagues. In one such study, Anderson and Conway (1993) examined the structure of autobiographical memories in a series of experi ments. The participants were told to retrieve memories as quickly as possible either from a peri od of the past ten years, or from a period more than ten years before. As soon as the participant retrieved a memory he/she was told to list the details of the memory either in 10 seconds or in 30 seconds. Then he/she was instructed to list the details of the memory in one of five conditions : in free recall, in forw ard temporal order, in reverse temporal order, in terms of centrality (i.e., the detail that is most central to the memory), and in terms of personal signifi cance. Results of their first th ree experiments showed that subjects listed more details in free recall and forward temporal conditions than in the other conditions. Details in the free re call conditions were more persona l than the other conditions. In experiments 4 and 5, it was found that the distinctiv e cues gave faster access to autobiographical memories than did less distinctiv e or thematically relevant cues These findings suggested that both temporal organization and personal signific ance are important elements in the organization of autobiographical memories. In a similar study, Haque and Conway ( 2001) asked participan ts to retrieve autobiographical memories in response to cues. At some point after cue presentation, they were told to report what was in their minds at that time. The results s howed that in the early stages 14

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of retrieval (2 sec after cue pres entation) participants reported more abstract knowledge, whereas in later stages they reported general (5 sec) a nd specific knowledge (30 sec) about the memory in response to the cue word. Of all the lifetime peri od memories, 70% of them came from the 2 sec group, whereas 41% of the all general memories came from the 5 sec group. Specific memories, on the other hand were prominent in the 30 sec group. The results were in line with the model proposed by Conway (1996; Conway & Pleydell -Pearce, 2000). That is, the organization of memories is hierarchical, and mo re important for the present study, memories were activated in temporal order from general to more speci fic knowledge about the remembered event. Access as well as structure, then, in Conw ays model of autobi ographical memory is hierarchical in nature; it is assumed that information in upper levels is used to access information in lower levels. In this sense, the flow of information is commonly from upper, less specific levels to lower, more specific levels. Even though this unique organization is obs erved in many studies of autobiographical memory retrieval (e.g. Haque and Conway, 2001), it can be modulated by factors such as the emotionality of the memory, and the emotional mood and cognitive capacity of the rememberer (Harvey, Bryant, & Dang, 1998; Kuyken & Brewin, 1995; Schaefer & Philippot, 2005; Williams et al., 2006). The role of affect on autobiographical memory was the focus of the Affect Infusion Model, which will be discussed below. Affect Infusion Model The Affect Infusion Model (or AIM) was the first proposed to expl ain in detail the relationship between mood and memory (Forgas, 1995). However, it may also serve as a useful framework for thinking about the organization of autobiographical memories more generally. It suggested that the relationship between mood and memory is mode rated by the characteristics of the individual (e.g., affective state, cogn itive capacity, motivation level, personality 15

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characteristics, personal relevan ce of the task), of the situatio n (e.g., demand effects, cognitive load, expectations), and of the available inform ation e.g., (complexity, familiarity, typicality). Depending on the settings of these three ch aracteristics, people may employ different processing strategies. AIM describes four processing strategies that are increasingly more likely to engender mood and emotion effects in memor y. These are termed direct access, motivated processing, heuristic processing, and substantive processing (Forgas, 1995). According to the model, deeper or more elaborative processing as such does not always lead to manipulation effects. It is the combination of personal, contex tual, and task characteristics that will make the effects of manipulation on memory more or less likely, and determin e the particular direction of these effects. Direct access is the simplest strategy; it is based on the strongly cued recall of the stored cognitive contents that are cryst allized in memory. It is closed to affect infusion. It is more likely to be used when the task is familiar, when there is little or no personal involvement, and when no other motivational, cognitive, affectiv e, or situational for ces require elaborate processing (Bower & Forgas, 2000). Motivated processing is guided by a strong, preexis ting objective. Hence, little constructive processing takes place, and this in turn limits the probabi lity of affect infusion. Motivated processing is used when a specific ou tcome is desired and a specific directional goal dominates and guides the information search. Mood maintenance or mood regulation can be examples of motivated processing (Bower & Forgas, 2000). In mood regulation, a current negative mood does not get integrated with the process that is goi ng on at that time. As soon as someone realizes his/her negative mood, he/she tries to eliminate it by some kind of mood regulation strategies, such as intentional re call of pleasant memories. Even though one could 16

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argue that in this case the curr ent mood is still responsible for these actions, the result is an absence (or reversal) of the expected congruence or mood-dependence effects. Heuristic processing occurs when neither direct acce ss nor motivated processing can be used, because the task lacks either personal invol vement or sufficient processing resources. This situation is highly susceptible to affect infusion. It is adopted for a relatively simple or typical task with low personal relevance, no specific motivational objectives, limited cognitive capacity, and no demand for accuracy or substantive proc essing. Environmental context variables and current mood could easily affect information processing in this case (Bower & Forgas, 2000). Substantive processing is the most constructive strategy, and has the greatest vulnerability to affect infusion. It is used when the other th ree relatively simple processes cannot be employed. It is more likely to be employed when a task is complex, atypical, and personally relevant, when subjects have adequate processing capacity, but lack a specific motiva tional goal (Forgas, 1999). Forgas (1994, 1995) and Bower and Forgas (2000) describe a wide ra nge of studies which provide supportive evidence for AIM in diffe rent social domain s (e.g., perception and interpretation of interactive behaviors, at tributions for success a nd failure, relationship judgment). For example, Forgas and Moylan (1991) wanted to test one implication of this model, which suggested that the longer and more extensively someone tries to make a judgment, the more he/she will be open to affect infusion. Th ey argued that atypical, unusual, or complex targets would lead to longer and more substa ntive encoding strategies In their experiment, Forgas and Moylan studied the effects of happy, neutral, or sad moods on peoples perception of other races. Participants were presented Asian (h eterostereotype) or Caucasian (autostereotype) characters who were part of a same-race or a mixed-race dyad. The mixed-race dyads were hypothesized to require more detailed and subs tantive inferential proc essing than same-race 17

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dyad. Mood congruence effects for both positive and negative mood were found, which were significantly larger when participants were presented a mixed dyad, as predicted by AIM. Autobiographical Memory Retrieval Reviewing a number of studies of the time needed to access autobiographical memories (see above), Conway (1996) concluded that the re trieval of autobiographical memory in general takes more time than the retrieval of other knowledge from memory. Therefore, Conway (1996) suggested that retrieval of aut obiographical memories is more of a constructive and an effortful process, in contrast to a ve ridical one-to-one reproduction of events stored in memory. Corresponding to the structural model of hi s autobiographical memory, Conways dynamic retrieval model is similarly very explicit and de tailed. However, this aspe ct of his model has not received a great deal of empirical attention. According to Conway (1996), autobiographical memory retrieval takes place in sequential steps. First, a cue is analyzed and a memory de scription, which can be in the form of fragmented images, is created. Then this information is used to access the autobiographical memory knowledge base. Finally, information in the activa ted level (general events or lifetime event periods) used to gain access to the sublevels. Retrieval stops when a specific autobiographical memory is retrieved. This kind of model is some times called a constraint-satisfaction model, in which a decision made at the end of each step, and this decision process is constrained by some factors. Applied to autobiographical memory, the model proposes that eac h retrieval process is constrained by task demands and personal char acteristics (Conway, 1996; Anderson & Conway, 1993). According to Conway (1996), dur ing retrieval of an autobiographical memory, activation from one level travels to the other levels. However, this process is not automatic as in the case of spreading activation; it is effortful and takes time. According to the model, information retrieved 18

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at the end of each step is tem porarily held in working memory, which therefore may concurrently contain knowledge from different levels of autobiographical knowledge base (Anderson & Conway, 1993). In a recent study, Williams, Chan, and Crane (2006) tested the hierarchical structure of autobiographical memory retrieval by manipul ating the search process. They argued that increasing the working memory load by a secondar y task when simultaneously searching for an autobiographical memory would lead to genera l event memories instead of specific memories. Participants were asked to r ecall autobiographi cal memories in response to highand lowimageable cue words while they were doing a random button pressing as the secondary task. Williams et al. expected high imageable cues to l ead to specific memories because they are more likely to bring to mind visual images that will be effective cues for specific memories. This in turn would help them to maintain a good perf ormance in a secondary working memory task compared to low imageable cues. There were also two different retrieva l modes; specific and generic. Comparing performance without a secondary task to one with the random number pressing, Williams et al. found that for low imageable cues (which they suggested would lead to generative retrieval), random-number pressing (a ta sk designed to place attentional demands on a person while minimizing sensory-motor demands, see below) caused memories to be less specific. In another experiment, they tested the effect of sp ecific or generic retrieval of autobiographical memories on a se condary task. Participants were first asked to retrieve specific or generic autobiographical memories, then they were given a means-e nd problem solving task. Williams et al. assumed since more working memory capacity is needed for the specific autobiographical memory retrieval, this will impede the following problem solving task. Results 19

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showed that specific memory retrieval did inde ed decrease problem solving performance, as measured by the number of means and effectiveness. The (re)construction of autobiographical memory from the retrieved information is suggested to be moderated by central or execu tive control processes. Conway and PleydellPearce (2000) proposed the working self as a control process that tries to minimize the discrepancies between the current situation and the active goals of the self. The working self compares the present situation with the current goals of the self and produces an output. According to this output different kinds of information processing takes place in mind. Hence, it is clear that active goals of th e self can limit or give access to autobiographical knowledge base by setting boundaries in searching, elaborating, and evaluation phases of retrieval process. As a result, the content and structur e of autobiographical memories can change according to the current goals of the self. Moreover, in this system the relationship between autobiographical memories and goals of the self is reciprocal; that is, autobiographical memories can determine the goals of the self as well as goals of the se lf can affect the content and structure of the autobiographical memories. For example, re membering his success in analytical problem solving, someone might acquire the goal of stud ying marketing in graduate school. Likewise, someone who has the current goal of studying mark eting can fail to remember those cases where she was not successful solvi ng analytical problems. Conway and Pleydell-Pear ce (2000) also differentiated two types of specific autobiographical memory retrieval: generative retr ieval and direct retrieval. Direct retrieval occurs when a specific memory cue gives ra pid and effortless access to event specific knowledge. For example, given vacation as a cue word, someone might immediately remember the horrible plane trip with all the details about the trip like the annoying person 20

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sitting next to her, bad food, etc. Generative retrie val occurs when a cue is elaborated and used to access an autobiographical memory through worki ng self. These two types of autobiographical memory retrieval exploit different processing strategies. Direct retr ieval appears equivalent to the direct access strategy of AIM, and it is suggested to be closed to a ny manipulation (Forgas, 1995). Generative retrieval, on the other hand, woul d result in any of the other three strategies (Motivated, heuristic, and subs tantive), and depending on the personality, contextual, and memory characteristics these strategies w ould be open to manipulation. Thus, memories retrieved by direct access could be argued to differ from the ones retrieved by generative retrieval in some dimensions, at least, including the organization, structure and/or phenomenological characterist ics of these memories. Cognitive Load One attribute of individuals w hose effect on autobiographical memories has recently been explored experimentally is that of cognitive capac ity. Williams et al. (2007) studied the effect of executive control on the rela tionship between autobiographi cal memory specificity and depression. Williams et al. (2007) demonstrated, as have others, that depression is characterized by a reduced specificity in autobiographical memori es. In a series of experiments using different kinds of executive control tasks (e.g. verbal fl uency, design fluency, alternate uses, Porteus maze test, number generation) with non-clinically depressed participants, they showed that autobiographical memory specific ity is significantly and negatively correlated with errors on executive control tasks, even af ter partialling out depression scores (the correlation coefficient changed from -.40 to -.51). These results showed that autobiographical memory specificity is modulated by executive control cap acity independent of depression. Others have taken the approach of manipula ting the situation, a nd varying the cognitive load of the task, to explore the relationship between executive contro l and specificity of 21

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autobiographical memory. Williams et al.s study, discussed previously, reflects this kind of an approach. They found that increasing working memory load by a secondary task when simultaneously searching for an autobiographical memory lead to general event memories instead of specific memories. Baddeley (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974; Baddeley, 2 000) perceived working memory as a limited capacity system allowing the temporar y storage and manipulation of information necessary for such complex tasks as comprehension, learning and reas oning (p.418). Baddeley further claimed working memory is a complex in formation-processing system composed of four major parts: the central executive, the phonologi cal loop, the visuospati al sketchpad, and (a recent addition) the episodic buffer. The central executive is an attentional control system responsible for coordinating the slave systems, which serve to store and maintain sensorimotor representations. The phonological loop main tains verbal and acoustic information by a transitory store and an articulatory rehearsal sy stem. The visuospatial sketchpad stores visual, spatial and kinaesthetic aspects of visuospati al information. The episodic buffer, a recent addition to the multistore model, is a storage sp ace that integrates phonological, visual, spatial, and verbal information into a unitary episodic representation. Many tasks have been devised to measure th e capacity of each of these components of working memory. The procedures used by the pr evious studies aimed to assess the central executive function of working memory. However, the complex nature of autobiographical memories makes it interesting and useful to e xplore which specific components of the working memory are more involved in retrieval of autobiographical memories. An overall effect of executive attentional load on memory, as demonstr ated by the Williams et al. findings, is hardly surprising. In view of some of Conways ( 1996, 2000) suggestions abou t the strategic, and 22

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visual, nature of retrieval dynamics, it should furt her be possible to selectively interfere with retrieval by interfering not with the central executive, but with one of the slave systems. This is the distinctive aspect of the present research One of the difficulties of studying the different components of working memory is to find tasks that are supposed to influence and measur e different components, but are comparable in nature. For example, the most often-used phonolog ical loop task concu rrent articulation of a string of speech sounds, sometimes as simple as saying the, the, the repeatedly does not on the face of it appear to require as much cognitive capacity as compared to a commonly-used visuospatial loop task of rotating images in ones mind. Irrelevant spee ch and image effects, however, as described below, appear comparable in nature in terms of the minimal cognitive load involved, and they were therefore used to s uppress phonological and visuospatial components of working memory in the present studies, respectively. Irrelevant Speech Effects Performance in immediate serial recall of verbal stimuli d eclines when participants are presented irrelevant speech while studying the items in the list. Their performance decreases even if they are told to not to pay attention to the irrelevant speech. This effect was first observed by Colle and Welsh (1976) in an experiment wh ere the study items were presented visually. According to Salam and Baddeley (1982), irreleva nt speech interferes with the short-term storage of verbal stimuli w ithin a limited capacity phonological input store. The phonological loop consists of this phonological store and arti culatory rehearsal process. According to the model, spoken stimuli access the phonological st ore every time, however visually presented information goes into the phonological store only when it is articulated. In order to better understand the relations hip between articulatory suppression and phonological loop, Hanley and Bakopoulou (2003) studi ed the additive effects of irrelevant 23

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speech and articulatory suppression using auditory s timuli. On half of the trials, they presented the irrelevant speech during stimulus presentation and during the retention interval the other half. For articulatory suppression, the particip ant was asked to repeat the word and at a rate of approximately two repetitions per second during pr esentation, retention inte rval, and recall of the target stimuli. If Salam and Baddeleys ideas were correct, then irrelevant speech should have similar effects on recall irrespective of if it takes place during stimuli presentation or the retention interval when there is articulatory suppression. That is, there would be additive effects of irrelevant speech and articulatory suppression. However, if perceptual masking at encoding is responsible for the irrelevant speech effects on auditorily presen ted items, then presentation of irrelevant speech during the rete ntion interval only would significantly reduce any irrelevant speech effect. The results showed that both ir relevant speech and articulatory suppression decreased performance on a serial recall task, regardless of when the irrelevant speech is presented. However, the performance was worse when irrelevant speech was accompanied with articulatory suppression. Therefore, these resu lts supported ideas of Sa lam and Baddeleythat any spoken material will automati cally enter phonol ogical store. Similarly, Surprenant, Neath, and LeCompte (1999) examined the relationship between irrelevant speech and phonological similarity. Their results, in line with Hanley and Bakopoulou's, showed that the phonol ogical similarity effect is e liminated by irrelevant speech for items that are visually presented, but not for auditorily presented items. The working mechanism of the irrelevant speec h effect has also been studied. Gisselgard, Petersson Baddeley and Ingvar (2003) asked partic ipants to serially reca ll the digits that are presented visually while they were hearing irre levant speech in a PET study. They found out that the effect of irrelevant speech was associated w ith a decrease of activity in bilateral secondary 24

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auditory and inferior/middle frontal areas, as well as in the left inferior parietal cortex. Therefore, they suggested irrelevant speech eff ect could be explained by the suppression of the components of the verbal working memory (i.e., the phonological loop). These results suggest that irrelevant speech could be used as a way to suppress the phonological loop of working memory as an alternative to articulato ry suppression task. Irrelevant Pictorial Effects In principle, irrelevant visu al-spatial stimulation should in terfere with the visual-spatial sketchpad of working memory in a way analogous to how irrelevant speec h interferes with the phonological loop. But there have been far fewer st udies of this aspect of working memory. Quinn and McConnell (1996) were the first to investigate a visual e quivalent of irrelevant speech effect. They suggested that the irrelevant picture effect is a real phenomenon and furthermore it could be manipulated to examine the visuospati al sketchpad. They argue d irrelevant pictures enters visuospatial in a similar way that i rrelevant speech enters phonological loop using the ideas and results of Logie ( 1986), who found out that irrelevant pictures did not affect performance in rote rehearsal, but decreased performance under visual mnemonic instructions. Quinn and McConnell developed a dynamic visu al noise, in which dots change randomly and constantly between off and on. They claim this dynamic visual noise is irrelevant and has no time, place and thematic attentional focus but nonetheless cannot be ignored. Participants were presented with this visual noise while they were studying words under verbal and visual mnemonics instructions. The results showed that participants' perf ormances under verbal instructions were not affected by the visual noise; however, part icipants who were given visual mnemonics instructions performed worse when pr esented with the visual noise. Furthermore, Quinn and McConnell used a double dissociation approach between irrelevant speech and irrelevant picture (Experiment 3). The results revealed that irrele vant speech did not affect the 25

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performance under visual mnemonics, whereas perf ormance got worse under verbal instructions. Similarly, visual noise did not affect the performance under verbal instructions but decreased the performance under visual instructions. Using the same methodology, McConnell and Qu inn (2004) examined the factors that affect the degree of interference. For ex ample, McConnell and Quinn manipulated the complexity of the target stimulus event by increas ing the number of dots, the density of the dots, and size of the field in three expe riments. Their results showed th at the increasing complexity of the stimulus event was associated with the greater interference from a visual noise, again even if participants were told to ignore the visual noise but just look at it. They argued that, these results again showed that visual noise can access the visuospatial sketchpad, and causes interference with ongoing tasks that make use of that working memory structure. Based on these results, visual no ise seems to be a visuospatial sketchpad suppression task that is equivalent to irreleva nt speech in terms of the c ognitive capacity demand. Therefore, irrelevant speech and dynamic visual noise were used to suppress specifically phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad components of work ing memory. It is worth pointing out that, although Quinn and McConnell refer to their interference as pict orial, their dynamic visual noise does not involve pict orial stimuli, and would be comparable not to irrelevant speech in the subjects language, but in a foreign language where no familiar organized and meaningful patterns could activate semantic memory, attr act attention, and othe rwise complicate the investigation of the slave syst ems of working memory per se. General Research Question If autobiographical memory retrieval depends on language and/or phonological cues and activation of verbal knowledge, then phonol ogical loop suppression will most impair autobiographical memory retrieval. The memori es would be expected to be retrieved more 26

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slowly, be more general and have lower ratings on certain phenomenological characteristics such as auditory and verbal qualitie s compared to a control group, who were not exposed to any type of noise. On the other hand, if autobiographical memory retrieval require s active use of visual imagery and image cues, as argued by Conway a nd others (see above), then the visuospatial sketchpad suppression will most interfere with autobiographical memory recall in these ways. Therefore, similar to the phonological loop s uppression, the memories would be retrieved slowly, be more general, and ha ve lower ratings on visual and imagery related phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memories compared to the control group. Typicality of autobiographical memories is also predicted to be affected by interference with working memory storage systems. Typical autobiographical memories would be expected to utilize less working memory capacity compared to distinct memories. I therefore expected that the event-specific memories produced under worki ng memory load conditions will be rated as more typical. Furthermore, typical memories would be expected to be more general and have lower ratings on some phenomenological charac teristics of memories. Under working memory interference conditions, the au tobiographical memories recalled simultaneously would be expected to be more typical one s. The suppression tasks would engage critical components of working memory, therefore leaving fewer resour ces for recalling a distinct autobiographical memory Conway and Pleydell-Pearce ( 2000) distinguished between two stages of autobiographical memory processing: search and retrieval, on one hand; and maintenance and elaboration on the other. The search phase refers to the attempt to retrieve or activate a specific autobiographical memory after being presented with some sort of cue. Once this phase is complete, the memory can be maintained in working memory, elaborated with other memories or thoughts, or inspected 27

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in various ways. Experiment 1 examined the effects of visual and phonological noise on the search phase of autobiographical recall, whic h I hypothesis would be the most disrupted by irrelevant stimuli. Further, if the process of searching for and retrievi ng an autobiographical memory is founded on visual and spatial information, then the irre levant picture task should be more disruptive, and change the characteristics of the retrieved memories, more than would the irrelevant speech task. In Experiment 2, the eff ects of irrelevant speech and visual noise on the maintenance and elaboration of retrieved autobiographical memories was explored. 28

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CHAPTER 2 COMMON METHOD Phonological Loop Suppression An irrelevant-speech paradigm was used to attempt to suppress the phonological loop of working memory. Thirteen-seconds-long passages from a Turkish novel were recorded by a female native speaker of Turkish. The passages were selected so that no there were no words that could sound like English words. A randomly selected different passage was played for each trial of the autobiographical memory task. Visuospatial Sketchpad Suppression A dynamic visual display of randomly turning on and off black and white dots in a window on the monitor screen was used to suppress the vi suospatial sketchpad of working memory. Each of these dots was 100x100 pixels square which is co lored either black or white. The display was a 10000x8000 pixels rectangle consisting of these 100x100 black or white colored squares. Two hundred of these small squares turned on and off randomly every 200ms and created the dynamic visual display (Fig-1). Autobiographical Memory Task Neutral nouns that are likely to elicit autobi ographical memories were used as cue words. There were a total of 30 cue words (Appendix A). Participants were given the following instructions: We want you to remember an event from your life that each word reminds you of. Any event will do as long as it is a si ngle event that lasted less than a day, and occu rred at a particular time and a place. The events could have occurred at any time in your life, they may be important or trivial, but they should be real events. If you remember something that happened today, please try to remember something else. Also if you reme mber the same memory again for another word, 29

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please try to remember a new memory. We will record your memories wit hout any identifiers for the filename, so please try to include as ma ny details (e.g. why, where, when, who, how) as you could in your memories." Participants were also given an example memo ry that demonstrates the difference between general and specific autobiographical memories. Be fore they started the experiment, they were presented with a practice cue word and asked to recall an event. The di fference between general and specific autobiographical memories wa s demonstrated once ag ain on their personal memories. Autobiographical Memory Characteristics Questionnaire In order to investigat e the phenomenological characteristics of the recalled memories that are of interest to the current study (visual and phonologi cal/language), pa rticipants were asked to answer an autobiographical memory characteris tic questionnaire, which included questions about the pleasantness and intensity of emotions, degr ee to which the memory was experienced as an auditory event, linguistic characteristics, imagery, location, time travel, typicality, personal uniqueness, and age of memory (Appendix B). 30

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Figure 2-1. A static representati on of the visual dynamic noise used in Experiments 1 and 2. The display measured 10000x8000 pixels cons isting of 100x100 pixels squares on the computer screen and 200 of these squares moved randomly every 200ms. 31

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CHAPTER 3 EXPERIMENT 1 Introduction Conway and Pleydell-Pearce ( 2000) distinguished between two stages of autobiographical memory retrieval; search and elaboration phases. Search phase refers to the actual search for a memory, after being presented with some sort of cue. Elaboration starts just after one recalls a memory in response to the cues. This phase has more to do with the organization of memories into a coherent story. Experiment 1 examined the effects of visual and phonological noises on the search phase of autobiographical recall. Method Participants Participants were recruited from the genera l psychology participant poo l at the University of Florida. They received credits towards their co urse for participation. A total of 91 participants took part in the experi ment (63 females) from ages 18 to 23. Thirty-one of them were randomly assigned to visual noise conditi on, another 31 to auditory noise condition, and the remaining were assigned to control group (26 of them to auditory first condition). Procedure The materials and tasks that were described in the previous chapter were used. In order to ensure the exposure to noise, participants in th e visual noise condition were told they would be seeing some dots moving around randomly on the scre en and they needed to be looking at the screen at all times when they were trying to recall a memory. They were told not to look around nor close their eyes. Since participants in the auditory condition had to wear earphones, they were not specifically told to listen to the passage. 32

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Each trial in the experiment started with the visual or auditory noise, depending on the experimental group the participan t is assigned. After being exposed to the noise for 3 seconds, participants in visual noise condition heard the cue words through earphones. Auditory noise participants were shown the cue word on the co mputer screen. Participants in both conditions had to indicate the retrieval of a memory by pressing any key. Then, they talked about the recalled event while the experimenter was inside th e room with the participant. The trial finished after the participant answered the questions abou t the event and then the next trial started. All participants were given 10 sec onds to recall a memory and if they could not remember one during this time they were presented with the next cue word. Participants in the control group were not exposed to any of the visu al or auditory noise conditions. They were presented the half of the sa me cue words visually on the computer screen and the other half were presented auditorily th rough headphones. The order of this presentation was counterbalanced so that half of the control group pa rticipants saw the fi rst half of the cue words on the screen and heard the other half through the headphones. Th e other half of the participants started with the auditory cues and finished with visual cues. Results First, responses for each participant were aver aged across trials for response time, as well as for each of the various characteristics of autobi ographical memories (age at event, intensity of emotions, etc). Mean and standard errors of these variables ac ross participants are shown in Table 3-1. The probability of recalling a memory within th e 10s limit was similar for the three groups. On the other hand, comparison of response times acr oss condition in Table 1 suggests that visual noise led to faster response s than the other two conditions Regarding the phenomenological ratings, the visual noise conditi on appeared to lead to highe r ratings than auditory noise 33

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condition for imagery, auditory experience, time travel, and linguistic ch aracteristics, whereas auditory noise condition had highe r ratings on negativity, typicality, and uniqueness compared to visual noise condition. They have similar ratings on positivity, in tensity, location, and specificity. Age of memory did not appear to differ across conditions. Effects of Visual versus Auditory P resentation of Cue Words: Control Group Prior to the main analyses, the data from the control group was examined in order to test if presentation mode of cue words affected the response variables, since this differed for the auditory and visual noise conditions. The response variables for the model tested included mean response time, mean age of memories, and mean ra tings for (a) imagery, (b) auditory experience, (c) linguistic relatedness, (d) personal uniqueness, (e) typicality, a nd (f) specificity for autobiographical memories. The specificity rating was obtained by summing the ratings for location remembrance and ratings for ability to travel in time when recalling the memory. Means and standard errors of respons e variables across pres entation mode are shown in Table 3-2. A repeated measures mixed model analysis was pe rformed using order of cue word presentation (visual first vs. auditory first), mode of presentation (visual or a uditory), and inte raction between them. The analysis is weighted by the number of memories each pa rticipant recalled (Table 3-3). Results showed that main effect of presenta tion mode was not signi ficant (F(1,27)= .03, p>.1). That is, the mode of presenta tion did not have any effect on the reaction times. However, the main effect of order of presentation and inte raction effect was significant (F(1,27)= .03, p=.012, and F(1,27)= 6.90, p=.015, respectively). Auditory firs t conditions were faster than the visual first conditions on average. Visually presented cues led to faster reactions times in auditory first condition compared to visual first condition. Therefore, these results suggest that mode of presentation did not affect the reac tion times of the memories recalled. 34

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For the response variables imagery, auditory experience, linguistic characteristics, specificity, number of memories recalled, and age of memories, none of the predictors were significant. However, typicality and personal uniqueness were aff ected by the presentation mode. Memories for visually presented cue words got higher ratings for both typicality and personal uniqueness. The main effect of order and the in teraction were not sta tistically significant. Analysis of residual plots and the distributions (Fig 3-1, Fig 3-2, and Fig 3-3) for all the response variables did not reveal any anomalies or systematic patterns that would indicate problems with normality, homogeneity of variances, and fit of the models. Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories The lack of an overall effect of modality of cue word presentation in the control group indicates that the two experime ntal groups, which used different cue presentation modalities, may be directly compared. In order to test the effect of auditory and visual noise on autobiographical memories, a multivariate ANOVA was followed by a series of independent ANOVA analyses. For this set of analyses, if the participant was unable to recall a memory in given interval, response time is set to missing; that is, only those trials in which participant recalled an event were averaged to obtain the average response variables. The analyses were again weighted by the number of memo ries recalled by each participant. The same response variables as the previous repeated measures ANOVA model were used in MANOVA. Independent variable s included in the model were type of noise (auditory vs. visual), gender of the participants, and the two-way interaction betw een type of noise and gender. Results of MANOVA showed that there was a main effect of type of noise on the composite response variable, Wilks = .55 (F(9,30)= 2.74, p=.02).Since th is result revealed that type of noise affected the composite multiv ariate response variab le, independent ANOVA 35

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analysis were conducted for each of the indivi dual response variables. The same independent variables and the model that was used in MANOVA were adopted for all further analysis (Table 3-4). For response time, ANOVA results showed that th ere was a significant ma in effect of type of noise (F(1,60)= 33.73, p<.0001). Memories in vi sual noise condition were retrieved more quickly than were memories in the auditory noise condition. Howe ver, there were no differences between visual and auditory noises in terms of number of memories recalled. The following analyses compared the phenomenol ogical aspects of memories of different experimental conditions. For ratings of imagery, auditory experience, linguistic characteristics, specificity, and age of memory, none of the variab les in the model were st atistically significant. For the mean ratings of typicality, participants in the visual noise condition rated their memories to be marginally less unique than the memories of participants in the auditory noise condition (F(,60)= 3.61, p=.06). Moreover, memories of participants in auditory condition were rated to be more personally unique than that of control group (F (1,60)= 3.65, p=.06). Data from the control (no noise) conditions we re divided according to the mode of cue word presentation (visual vs. auditory). The audito ry portion of the data wa s used as the control for visual noise condition whereas visual portion of the data was used as the control for auditory noise condition. For this analys is, the same response variables were used as previously. The model included the independent variable noise (n oise vs. control) (Table 3-5 and Table 3-6). Response times in the visual noise condition we re faster than the control group (F(1,58)= 34.57, p<.0001). The comparison between auditory noise condition and corresponding control group showed that participants in the auditory noise condition were marginally faster than control group (F(1,58)= 3.82, p=.055). With respect to the number of me mories recalled, there 36

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were no differences between visual noise group and control gr oup and auditory noise group and control group. In terms of the linguistic characteristics of memories, participants in auditory noise condition rated their memories to be less linguist ic in nature compared to the corresponding control group (F(1,58)= 5, p= .03). Furthermore, auditory noise c ondition led to memories with marginally less auditory experience compared to memories of the control group. However, there were no differences between visu al noise condition and correspondi ng control group with respect to the linguistic characterist ics of the memories recalled and the auditory experience. Additionally, for mean ratings of imagery, typicality, uniquene ss, specificity, and age of memory, none of the variables in the model were statistically signi ficant for both visual noise to control group and auditory noise to control group comparisons. Finally, in order to find out if the response time for retrieving a memory affected the qualities of the recalled memories a series of correlations analyses were performed. First, data for individual trials were used to calculate the correlations by noise conditions (Table 3-7). Results for the visual noise condition show ed that there were significan t negative correlations between imagery, auditory qualities, time travel, typicalit y, uniqueness, and linguistic characteristics. The auditory noise condition, on the other hand, showed that the only significant correlation was the negative correlation between imagery and response times. Control group results showed that the negative correlation between imagery and response times was significant as well as the positive correlation between linguistic characteristics and age at memory. However, all of these correlation coefficients were less than .15, which corresponds to less than 2.5% of the total variance. 37

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After these individual trial anal yses, data for the mean respons e variables across trials were used to compute the correlations (Table 3-8). Results showed that for the control group, there was a significant positive correlation between linguist ic characteristics and response times with a coefficient of .240. However, for both visual and auditory noise conditions none of the correlations were statistically significant. 38

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Table 3-1. Mean and standard error of response variables by type of noise Measure Visual Auditory Control Response Time (s) 4.36 (0.09) 5.99 (0.1) 6.62 (0.11) Percent Recall 0.73 (0.01) 0.75 (0.01) 0.73 (0.02) Attribute Ratings Positivity 4.73 (0.09) 4.71 (0.08) 4.95 (0.08) Negativity 2.72 (0.08) 2.86 (0.08) 2.89 (0.08) Intensity 3.91 (0.07) 3.98 (0.07) 4.06 (0.07) Imagery 5.97 (0.05) 5.78 (0.05) 5.82 (0.05) Auditory Experience 4.25 ( 0.08) 3.96 (0.08) 4.71 (0.08) Location 6.36 (0.05) 6.34 (0.04) 6.17 (0.05) Time Travel 5.31 (0.06) 4.90 (0.07) 5.05 (0.07) Typicality 3.59 (0.07) 4.10 (0.07) 4.02 (0.08) Uniqueness 4.23 (0.08) 4.74 (0.07) 4.51 (0.08) Linguistic Characteristics 3.36 (0.07) 3.01 (0.07) 4.07 (0.08) Age at event 15.15 (0.32) 15.67 (0.17) 15.29 (0.26) Specificity 11.66 (0.09) 11.24 (0.09) 11.22 (0.09) Age of Memory 3.69 (0.33) 3.29 (0.16) 4.26 (0.25) 39

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Table 3-2. Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control group Measure Auditory Visual Response Time (s) 6.52 (0.16) 6.72 (0.15) Percent Recall 0.75 (0.02) 0.71 (0.02) Attribute Ratings Positivity 4.95 (0.11) 4.94 (0.12) Negativity 2.84 (0.11) 2.95 (0.12) Intensity 3.98 (0.1) 4.15 (0.11) Imagery 5.8 (0.07) 5.84 (0.07) Auditory Experience 4.68 (0.11) 4.75 (0.12) Location 6.14 (0.07) 6.19 (0.07) Time Travel 5.07 (0.09) 5.03 (0.1) Typicality 3.88 (0.11) 4.17 (0.12) Uniqueness 4.28 (0.11) 4.75 (0.12) Linguistic Characteristics 4.01 (0.11) 4.13 (0.13) Age at event 15.18 (0.36) 15.41 (0.39) Specificity 11.22 (0.13) 11.22 (0.14) Age of Memory 4.35 (0.35) 4.15 (0.36) 40

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Table 3-3. Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects Response Variable Order Presenta tion Mode Order*Presentation Mode Response Time (s) 7.31** 0.03 6.9** Imagery 0.39 0.01 0.16 Auditory Experience 0.13 0.32 1.53 Typicality 0.05 4.71** 2.13 Uniqueness 0.45 6.36** 0.32 Linguistic Characteristics 1.53 0.38 0.08 Specificity 0.33 0.18 1.66 Age of Memory 1.68 0.19 0.02 Percent Recall 0.07 0.32 0.35 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 41

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Table 3-4. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise Measure Noise Response Time (s) 33.73***** Percent Recall 0.17 Attribute Ratings Imagery 1.17 Auditory Experience 0.74 Typicality 3.61* Uniqueness 3.65* Linguistic Characteristics 0.80 Specificity 1.16 Age of Memory 0.06 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 42

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Table 3-5. Mixed model F-test results for co mparison of visual noise to control group Measure Noise Response Time (s) 34.57***** Percent Recall 0.52 Attribute Ratings Imagery 0.79 Auditory Experience 1.46 Typicality 0.77 Uniqueness 0.02 Linguistic Characteristics 2.24 Specificity 1.37 Age of Memory 0.11 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 43

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Table 3-6. Mixed model F-test results for comp arison of auditory noi se to control group Measure Noise Response Time (s) 3.82* Percent Recall 0.98 Attribute Ratings Imagery 0.09 Auditory Experience 3.49* Typicality 0.06 Uniqueness 0 Linguistic Characteristics 5.00** Specificity 0.02 Age of Memory 0 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 44

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Table 3-7. Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition Measure Visual Noise Auditory Noise Control Group Imagery -0.07* -0.08** -0.08* Auditory Experience -0.89** 0.01 -0.06 Location -0.03 -0.01 -0.04 Time Travel -0.08** -0.06 0.04 Typicality -0.14**** 0.06 -0.04 Uniqueness -0.13*** 0.01 -0.06 Linguistic Characteristics -0.14**** 0.02 0.14**** Age of Memory -0.07 0.05 -0.09*** ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 45

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Table 3-8. Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each participant with reaction time by experimental condition Measure Visual Auditory Control Imagery 0.06 0.12 -0.11 Auditory Experience -0.12 0.15 -0.08 Typicality -0.30 0.06 -0.12 Uniqueness -0.11 0.18 -0.15 Linguistic Characteristics -0.27 0.05 0.24* Specificity 0.05 -0.01 0.10 Age of Memory -0.08 -0.01 -0.12 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 46

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0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Imagery Auditory Experience Location Time Travel Typicality Uniqueness Verbalness Specificity Age of Memory Figure 3-1. Box plots for the attribute ra tings for the autobiographical memories 47

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Response Times (msec) 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 Experiment 1 Experiment 2 Figure 3-2. Box plots for the response times for retrieving autobiographical memories for experiment 1 and 2 48

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Percent Recall 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 Experiment 1 Experiment 2 Figure 3-3. Box plots for the per cent recall of autobiographical memories for experiment 1 and 2 49

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CHAPTER 4 EXPERIMENT 2 Introduction According to Conway and Pleydell-Pearce (200 0), elaboration refers to the phase of autobiographical memory recall which starts ju st after one indicates recalling a memory in response to the cues, and continues until the memo ry is recounted. This phase has more to do with the organization of memories into a cohe rent story. The purpose of Experiment 2 was to examine the effects of visual and phonological noises on the elaboration phase of autobiographical recall. Method Participants Participants were recruited from the genera l psychology participant poo l at the University of Florida. They received credits towards their co urse for participation. A total of 82 participants took part in the experiment (49 females) from ages 18 to 23. Tw enty-six of them were assigned to visual noise condition, 29 to auditory, and the remaining 27 were assigned to control group (13 of them to audi tory first condition). Procedure The same materials and tasks that were descri bed in the previous chapter were used in Experiment 2. In order to ensure the exposure to noise, participants in th e visual noise condition were told they would be seeing some dots moving around randomly on the screen and they needed to be looking at the screen at all times wh en they were trying to think about a retrieved memory. They were told not to look around or close their eyes. Sin ce participants in the auditory condition had to wear earphones, they were not specifically told to li sten to the passage. 50

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Each trial in the experiment started with th e autobiographical memory task, regardless of which group the participants were assigned. Once again, participants in visual noise condition heard the cue words thro ugh earphones. Auditory noise participan ts were presented the cue word on the computer screen. After participants in dicated they have a memory by pressing a key, depending on their assignment they were either exposed to one of the two noise condition (visual or auditory) or no noise. Participan ts were exposed to these noises for 5 sec; control group had to wait 5 sec without doing anything. Participants in the control group were told that they would be able to talk about their memory after they we re prompted by the program. Then, they talked about the recalled event while the experimenter was inside the r oom with the participant. The trial finished after the participant answered the questions about the event and then the next trial started. All participants were given 10 seconds to recall a memory and if they could not remember one during this time they were presented with the next cue word. Participants in the control group were not exposed to any of the visu al or auditory noise conditions. They were presented the half of the sa me cue words visually on the computer screen and the other half were presente d auditorily through headphones. Th e order of this presentation if counter balanced so that half of the control group participants saw the firs t half of the cue words on the screen and heard the other half through the headphones. The other half of the participants started with the auditory cues and finished with visual cues. Results As in Experiment 1, data for each participan t was averaged across trials for response time, as well as for each of the various characteristics of autobiographical memories (age at event, intensity of emotions, etc). Mean and standard errors of these variables across participants are shown Table 4-1. 51

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Similar to the experiment 1, the probability of recalling a memory within the 10s limit was similar for the three groups. However, on ce again, comparison of response times across condition in Table 1 suggests that participants in visual and audito ry noise conditions were faster than participants in th e control condition in r ecalling autobiographical memories. However, like the experiment 1, in terms of au tobiographical memory characteris tics, there are not consistent differences among different condit ions. Visual noise condition seemed to have higher ratings than auditory noise condition in auditory expe rience and typicality, on the other hand auditory noise condition had higher negativity ratings than visual noise condition. Moreover, memories of visual noise condition were older than the memo ries of auditory noise condition. There were no differences between visual and auditory noise conditions in terms of positivity, intensity of emotions, imagery, location, time travel, uniqueness, linguistic characterist ics, specificity, and percent recall. Effects ff Visual versus Auditory Pres entation of Cue Words: Control Group As was the case in the experiment 1, before the main analyses, the control group data was examined in order to examine if the mode of presentation affected any of the autobiographical memory characteristics. The response variables for the model tested included mean response time, mean age of memories, a nd mean ratings for (a) imagery, (b) auditory experience, (c) linguistic relatedness, (d) pers onal uniqueness, (e) typicali ty, and (f) specificity for autobiographical memories. The specificity rating was obtained by summing the ratings for location remembrance and ratings for ability to travel in time when recalling the memory. Means and standard errors of respons e variables across pres entation mode are shown in Table 4-2. A repeated-measures mixed model analysis was pe rformed using order of cue word presentation (visual first vs. auditory firs t), mode of presentation, and interaction between them as the predictor variables. The analysis is weighted by the number of memories each participant 52

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recalled (Table 4-3.). As in the experiment 1, the mode of presentation did not have any effect on the reaction times (F(1,24)= .04, p>.1). Moreover, the main effect of order of presentation was not significant (F(1,24)= .14, p> .1). However, the two-way interaction was statistically significant (F(1,24)= 6.81, p=.015). Vi sually presented cues led to slower reactions times in visual first condition compared to auditorily presented cues, whereas auditorily presented cues led to slower response times in auditory first condition compared to visually presented cues. These results suggest that overall, the mode of presentation did not affect the reaction times of the memories recalled. Results showed that main effect of presen tation mode was not si gnificant (F(1,24)= .04, p>.1). Like the first experiment the mode of presentation did not have a ny effect on the reaction times. Moreover, the main effect of order of presentation was not si gnificant (F(1,24)= .14, p>.1). However, the two-way interaction was statistically significant (F(1,24)= 6.81, p=.015). Visually presented cues led to slower reactions times in visual first condition compared to auditorily presented cues, whereas auditorily presented cues led to slower response times in auditory first condition compared to visually presented cues. Similar to experiment 1, for the response variab les imagery, auditory experience, linguistic characteristics, typicality, personal uniqueness, specificity, and age of memories, none of the predictors were significant. Analysis of residual plots and distributions (Fig 3-2, Fig 3-3, and Fig 4-1) for all the response variables did not reveal any anomalies or systematic patterns that would indicate problems with normality, homogeneity of variances, and fit of the models. Effects of Auditory versus Visual Noise on Memories The lack of an overall effect of modality of cue word presentation in the control group indicated that the two experimental groups, which used diffe rent cue presentation modalities, 53

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may be directly compared, similar to the evalua tion of cue mode in experiment 1, A multivariate ANOVA which was followed by a series of in dependent ANOVA analyses were performed in order to test the effect of a uditory and visual noise on autobiographical memories. Once again, the analyses were weighted by the number of memories recalled by each participant. The same response variables as the previous repeated measures ANOVA model were used in MANOVA. The only independent variable that was included in the model was the type of noise (auditory vs. visual). Results of MANOVA showed that there was a main effect of t ype of noise on the composite response variable, Wilks = .84 (F(9,45)= 8.93, p>.10). One of the shortcomings of the multivariate ANOVA is that even if there ar e significant differences in only some of the dependent variables but not all of them, the effect of the ma nipulation could still come out insignificant. Even though, the MANOVA results reveal ed that type of noise did not affect the composite multivariate response variable, indepe ndent ANOVA analysis were still conducted for each of the individual response variables. The sa me independent variables and the model that was used in MANOVA were adopted for all further analysis (Table 4-4). For response time, unlike the expe riment 1, mixed models analys is results showed that the main effect of noise was not significant (F( 1,53)= .49, p>.10). There were also no differences between the two noise conditions with regards to the probability of recalling autobiographical memories Similar to the analyses of the experiment 1, in order to fully examine the effects of visual and auditory noise on autobiographical memori es other than response times, the following analyses compared memories of different e xperimental conditions on phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memory. 54

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Similar to the results of the experiment 1, the mean ratings of imagery, auditory experience, typicality, personal un iqueness, linguistic characterist ics, specificity, and age of memory did not differ between the visual and auditory noises. Data from the control (no-noise) conditions we re again divided into two according to the mode of cue word presentation (visual vs. auditory). The auditory portion of the data was used as the control for visual noise condition whereas visu al portion of the data wa s used as the control for auditory noise condition. Fo r this analysis, the same res ponse variables were used as previously. The only independent va riable in the model was noise (n oise vs. control) (Table 4-5 and Table 4-6). Similar to experiment 1, response times in noi se condition were faster than the control group (F(1,51)= 9.89, p= .003).. Similarly, auditory noi se condition led to faster response times compared to the corresponding control gr oup (F(1,54)= 10.28, p=.002). There were also no differences between visual noise and control group and auditory noise and control group in terms of probability of recalling autobiographical memories (F(1,51)= .78, p>.10 and F(1,54)= .32, p>.10, respectively). For the comparison between visual noise and th e control group counterpart, results showed that visual noise did not affect imagery, audi tory experience, typical ity, personal uniqueness, linguistic characteristics, sp ecificity, and age of memory. Comparing auditory noise condition to corr esponding control group, the results showed that memories in auditory noise condition were marginally more specific than the memories in the control group (F(1,54)= 3.13, p= 0.08). Howeve r, there were no differences between the memories in the auditory noise condition and memories of the c ontrol group in imagery, auditory experience, typicality, personal uniqueness, lingui stic characteristics, and age of memory. 55

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Finally, in order to examine the relationship between the response times for retrieving a memory and the qualities of the recalled memo ries, a series of correlations analyses were performed. First, data for indivi dual trials were used to calcul ate the correlations for each experimental condition (Table 47). Results for the visual noi se condition showed that the correlations between auditory qualities and time travel were significantly positive whereas the correlations between uniqueness and response time and age of memory and response time were significantly negative. Results of the auditory noise c ondition showed that there were significant negative correlations between imagery and response times and uniqueness and response times. Control group results showed th at the negative correlations be tween time travel and response time and age of memory and response time were significant. However, al l of these correlation coefficients were less than .105, which corresponded to the explai ned variance of 1.1% or less. After these individual trial anal yses, data for the mean respons e variables across trials were used to compute the correlations (Table 4-8). Re sults showed that for the visual noise condition there was a significant positive correlation betwee n linguistic characteristics and response times and a negative significant correlations between age of memories and response times, the correlation coefficients were .428 and -.782, resp ectively. For the auditory noise condition and control groups age of memories were significantly and negatively co rrelated, with coefficients of -.915 and -.824, respectively. 56

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Table 4-1. Mean and standard error of response variables by experimental groups Gender Visual Auditory Control Response Time (s) 7.06 (0.09) 6.96 (0.10) 8.42 (0.12) Percent Recall 0.67 (0.17) 0.63 (0.17) 0.70 (0.02) Attribute Ratings Positivity 5.12 (0.09) 4.90 (0.09) 4.56 (0.09) Negativity 2.45 (0.08) 2.68 (0.09) 3.03 (0.09) Intensity 3.91 (0.08) 3.73 (0.07) 3.66 (0.07) Imagery 5.84 (0.06) 5.87 (0.05) 5.60 (0.05) Auditory Experience 4.46 ( 0.09) 4.24 (0.09) 3.97 (0.08) Location 6.27 (0.05) 6.27 (0.05) 6.06 (0.05) Time Travel 5.26 (0.07) 5.26 (0.06) 4.92 (0.07) Typicality 3.71 (0.09) 3.94 (0.09) 3.52 (0.08) Uniqueness 4.50 (0.09) 4.57 (0.08) 4.20 (0.09) Linguistic Characteristics 2.88 (0.08) 3.07 (0.08) 3.38 (0.08) Age at event 15.65 (0.20) 15.20 (0.21) 15.44 (0.20) Specificity 11.53 (0.11) 11.53 (0.09) 10.98 (0.10) Age of Memory 3.66 (0.19) 4.27 (0.22) 4.11 (0.20) 57

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Table 4-2. Mean and standard error of response variables by mode of presentation for control group Measure Auditory Visual Response Time (s) 8.29 (0.18) 8.55 (0.19) Percent Recall 0.74 (0.02) 0.65 (0.02) Attribute Ratings Positivity 4.65 (0.12) 4.46 (0.13) Negativity 2.98 (0.12) 3.11 (0.13) Intensity 3.64 (0.1) 3.69 (0.11) Imagery 5.63 (0.07) 5.57 (0.09) Auditory Experience 3.88 (0.11) 4.07 (0.12) Location 6.13 (0.07) 5.98 (0.08) Time Travel 4.92 (0.09) 4.93 (0.1) Typicality 3.45 (0.11) 3.61 (0.12) Uniqueness 4.08 (0.12) 4.33 (0.13) Linguistic Characteristics 3.45 (0.1) 3.3 (0.11) Age at event 15.53 (0.27) 15.35 (0.28) Specificity 11.04 (0.13) 10.91 (0.15) Age of Memory 4.02 (0.28) 4.21 (0.29) 58

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Table 4-3. Repeated measures ANOVA F-test results for mode of presentation effects Response Variable Order Presenta tion Mode Order*Presentation Mode Response Time (s) 0.14 0.04 6.81** Imagery 1.78 0.07 0.41 Auditory Experience 0.01 1.53 0.01 Typicality 0.71 0.48 0.61 Uniqueness 1.46 0.91 0.09 Linguistic Characteristics 0 0.26 0 Specificity 0.01 0.17 0.06 Age of Memory 0.51 4.98** 0.06 Percent Recall 1.5 0.08 0 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 59

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Table 4-4. Mixed model F-test results for comparison of visual to auditory noise Measure Noise Response Time (s) 0.49 Percent Recall 0.73 Attribute Ratings Imagery 0.02 Auditory Experience 0.35 Typicality 0.63 Uniqueness 0.07 Linguistic Characteristics 0.22 Specificity 0 Age of Memory 0.6 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 60

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Table 4-5. Mixed model F-test results for co mparison of visual noise to control group Measure Noise Response Time (s) 9.89**** Percent Recall 0.28 Attribute Ratings Imagery 0.8 Auditory Experience 2.31 Typicality 0.71 Uniqueness 2.03 Linguistic Characteristics 1.65 Specificity 1.16 Age of Memory 0.78 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 61

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Table 4-6. Mixed model F-test results for comp arison of auditory noi se to control group Measure Noise Response Time (s) 10.28**** Percent Recall 0 Attribute Ratings Imagery 1.99 Auditory Experience 0.19 Typicality 0.93 Uniqueness 0.48 Linguistic Characteristics 0.26 Specificity 3.13* Age of Memory 0.32 ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 62

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Table 4-7. Correlations of measures for each trial with response time by experimental condition Measure Visual Noise Auditory Noise Control Group Imagery -0.01 -0.09** -0.02 Auditory Experience 0.07* 0.04 -0.02 Location -0.01 -0.11** 0.06 Time Travel 0.08* -0.03 -0.08* Typicality -0.02 -0.10** -0.02 Uniqueness -0.08* -0.06 0.01 Linguistic Characteristics 0.07 0.05 -0.03 Age of Memory -0.07* -0.01 -0.09** ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 63

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Table 4-8. Correlations of measures averaged over trials for each partic ipant with response time by experimental condition Measure Visual Auditory Control Imagery -0.29 -0.24 0.04 Auditory Experience 0.18 0.01 -0.07 Typicality -0.01 -0.17 0.02 Uniqueness 0.16 -0.12 0.27 Linguistic Characteristics 0.43** 0.13 -0.19 Specificity -0.03 -0.18 0.04 Age of Memory -0.78***** -0.91***** -0.82**** ***** p<.0001;**** p<.001;*** p<.01;** p<.05; p<.1 64

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0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Imagery Auditory Experience Location Time Travel Typicality Uniqueness Verbalness Specificity Age of Memory Figure 4-1. Box plots for the attribute ra tings for the autobiographical memories 65

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Results of the present stu dy showed that some aspects of the processing of autobiographical memories were affected by au ditory or visual noise. The experiment 1 was conducted to examine the effects of task-irrelevant noise on the se arch phase of autobiographical memories, whereas the aim of the second experiment was to investigate the effects of visual and auditory noise on the elaborati on phase of the autobiographical memory retrieval. The main findings of these two experiments will be summarized below, followed by a discussion of the results. Examination of the control group data verified that the presentation mode of cue words (visual or auditory) did not a ffect the autobiographical memo ry characteristics except the typicality and personal uniqueness dimensions. Re sults of the experiment 1 showed that noise condition (visual and aud itory) led to shorter response times in retrieving autobiographical memories compared to the control conditions. However, there were few systematic differences in the quality of the retrieved memories in the face of different kinds of noise, despite the differences in retrieval times for these two condi tions. The only differences between visual and auditory noise conditions were related to typicality and personal uniqueness of memories: Memories in visual noise condition were found to be more typical, and less personally unique, compared to the memories in auditory noise conditions. However, these two results were difficult to interpret because they were found to be affected by the modality of the cue word presentation. Additionally, the effects of noise manipulations on aut obiographical memory retrieval were tested by comparing each noise condition to its matching control group. Interestingly, participants in both of the noise conditions were faster than the control gro up. However, the only 66

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differences related to the phenomenological characteristics appeared in the auditory noise to control group comparison. Auditory noise condition led to memori es that were less verbal and included less auditory characteristics. Results of the experiment 1 also showed th at the correlations be tween response time to recall a memory and the memory characteristics were not of a size to be theoretically significant; even though some of the correlations were statistically significant, th ey predicted at best less that 2.5% of the variance. When the data averaged across trials for each participant used, the only significant correlation was obtained between linguistic characteri stics and response times, in which the memories that took longer to retrieve had higher ratings in li nguistic characteristics. Results of the experiment 2 showed that th ere were no differences between memories in visual noise condition and memori es in auditory noise condition. However, like the experiment 1, response times for memories in both of the noi se conditions were faster than the response time for recalling a memory in the control group. Moreover, memories of auditory noise condition were more specific than that of control group. Th ere were no other signifi cant results. As in Experiment 1, when the data for each trial were used to compute the correlations between response time and memory characteristics, resu lts showed that even though some of the correlations were statistically significant, they again were not of a si ze to be theoretically significant, accounting for only 1.2% or less of the total variance. When the da ta averaged across trials were used, results showed that for all three groups longer response times were associated with recent memories. It was also found that for visual noise conditi on, the longer the response time the higher ratings did the memories receive for linguistic characteristics. Results of the experiment 1 showed that, comp ared to auditory noise, visual noise led to faster reaction times in retrievi ng an autobiographical memory. Th ese results might suggest that 67

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search phase of the autobiographical memory is more sensitive to auditory manipulations. This, in turn, implies that autobiographical memory search de pends more on auditory/phonological mechanism compared to visual cues/mechanism. This account would contra dict the description of how autobiographical memories are retrieved given by Conway (1996), which emphasizes the role of early retrieval of visual images that serve as retrieval cues for the autobiographical memories proper. This account was also suppor ted by the results of the comparison between auditory noise condition and cont rol group. It was found that the memories from the auditory noise condition had less a uditory qualities and were less verb al than the memories of control group. However, this picture is complicated by the comparison of the noi se conditions to the control group. Contrary to exp ectations, memories from any of the noise conditions, in both experiment 1 and 2, recalled faster than control c onditions. According to the principles of affect infusion model (AIM) (Bower & Forgas, 2000; Fo rgas, 1995), both visual and auditory noise should have resulted in less cognitive capacity to spend in autobiographical memory search. Also, previous studies such as William et al. (200 6) showed that a secondary task leads to more general memories. Yet, participan ts in any of these noise conditions were faster than control groups. These results might suggest that the noise conditions could be activating the areas of the brain directly involved in aut obiographical memory search even before participants were presented the cue words. They may be some how priming code-speci fic neural networks, preparing those areas for the autobiographical me mory task. Therefore, in both of the noise conditions participants were fast er than the control group partic ipants. This explanation could also be used to explain the differences between me mories of visual and a uditory noises in terms 68

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of response times. The memories in visual no ise conditions were retrieved faster than the memories in auditory noise condi tion, so this implies that visu al noise makes participant more ready that auditory noise. This in turn suggests, along the lines of Conways (1996) autobiographical memory retrieval, that autobiographical memory search phase is more sensitive to and depends on visual cues compared to a uditory cues. This appears to be a simpler explanation of the pattern of results, than one positing a genera l arousing effect of the noise, superimposed on a greater interference eff ect for auditory than for visual noise. Another explanation for the slow er reaction times in control gr oup might be that the visual and, to a greater degree, auditory noise was an aversive stimulus, le ading participants to press the key to indicate they have a memory and get rid of the noise. However, this is not very likely. First, participants who were interviewed after th e experiment reported that they were not really bothered by the noise and they were able to block the noise out and stay focused on autobiographical memory task. Second, if participan ts would have been forced to press the keys early to come up with a memory, there should ha ve been some differences in phenomenological characteristics of the speeded memories in noi se conditions compared to control conditions. As discussed below, this was not observed in the current experiments. Finally, the fact that visual and auditory noise produced fast er responses even in the seco nd experiment, where the response led to the presentation rather than the terminati on of the noise, would seem inconsistent with the annoyance explanation of the findings, and more consistent with a gene ral activation account. Even though both Bower & Forgas (2000; Forgas, 1995) and Williams et al. (2006) mentioned cognitive capacity as a factor that mi ght affect some aspects of autobiographical memory retrieval, neither suggests anything ab out the response times for autobiographical memory retrieval. It might be the case that these noise conditions lead to memories that are less 69

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specific compared to control conditions. These less specific memories would probably have been retrieved form an upper level of autobiographi cal knowledge base compared to more specific memories, therefore resulting in faster response times. But there were no such differences between vi sual and auditory noise conditions despite the (small) response time differences. There we re differences between noise conditions with respect to the typicality and personal uniqueness dimensions. Howe ver, these two characteristics found to be affected by the modality of cue word s, therefore they are difficult to interpret. Comparing the memories of auditory noise condition to the memories of control group showed that auditory noise affected the memories as expected from a cognitive load perspective at least on two specific attribut es: Memories from the auditory noise condition were rated as having less auditory experience and were less verbal than the memo ries of control group. If the auditory noise manipulation decreased the amoun t of available cognitive capacity by clouding the phonological loop of the working memory, ther e would be less capacity to employ for the necessities of an autobiographical task. This could, in turn, lead to memories that are less verbal and have less auditory characteristics. However, this explanation conflicts with the previous account about the relationship between audito ry or visual noise and response time. Moreover, the similar account did not worked out for the visual noise condition. According to the cognitive capacity point of view, visual no ise should have resulted in memories that have less visual and imagery characte ristics than the control group. But the results of the both experiment failed to reveal any effect of visual noise on autobiographical memories except response times. Overall, these two experiments showed that a very subtle manipulation like visual or auditory noise affected autobiographical memo ries in some dimensions. On the one hand, 70

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manipulations of working memory load such as the ones used by William et al. decreased the working memory capacity that could be allocated to the autobiographical task, which in turn led to more general memories. One of the aims of th e current experiment was to test the effect of cognitive load that is manipulated using more ecological approaches to cognition. Visual and auditory noise are just th e sorts of examples of interference one could face in daily life situations while trying to retrieve an au tobiographical memory. The results of these experiments suggest that autobiographical memory retrieval is ve ry robust to manipulations of this sort. However, one can think of situations or ma nipulations that would increase the demand on the working memory capacity and might hinder autobiographical memory retrieval. For the manipulations of the current study, the demands of the visual task could be increased by increasing the number of dots moving at any moment or increasing the speed of the moving dots. The demands of the auditory task could be increased by adding another person with a mismatching gender, alternating the gender of the voice, or adding rando m noises every now and then. There are several limitations of the current study. First, there were no qualitative analyses of the memories other than the pa rticipants own ratings. It might be the case that there are in fact some other effects of the noise conditions that were not picked by the autobiographical memory questionnaire but need a more detailed quali tative analysis such as the number of details included in the memory, narrative structure, etc. A second limitation is related to the control group. In order to utilize time, this study di vided the cue words into two conditions, and presented half of them visually a nd the other half auditorily to the same participant. Ideally there should have been two control groups, one of whic h the cue words are presented visually and for the other one cue words are pres ented auditorily. Another limita tion of the study is that the 71

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sample came from the college freshman student s. Studies of autobiographical memory are especially prone to the sample population. Studies with adults give a larger pool of diverse autobiographical memories. Finally, an ecolo gical approach to c ognition would suggest incorporation of demographics such as gender, race, etc. in the analyses. However, for the current study it was not feasible to control for th ose variables. In summary, present results showed that that the speed and, to a lim ited degree, the content and structure of autobiographical memories were affected by a subtle manipulation of working memory capacity that was intended to interfere with one of the two major slave systems of working memory, namely auditory or visual stores, but appeared rather to activate or prime retrieval of these memories, at least in some wa ys. On the other hand, the results also suggested that in terms of the phenomenological characteristic s, at least, autobiogra phical memory retrieval was in large part unaffected by what might be thought of as everyday noisy conditions. This makes perfect sense in terms of the functionality of autobiogra phical memory in everyday life. Facing the complexity, randomness, and interferences from many sources, it is very important to have autobiographical memory availa ble as we go through our daily lives. 72

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APPENDIX A LIST OF CUE WORDS 1. Beach 2. Birthday 3. Cat 4. Dinner 5. Dress 6. Elevator 7. Hotel 8. Movie 9. Plane 10. Restaurant 11. Watch 12. Bathroom 13. Bus 14. Cake 15. Ca 16. Computer 17. Dog 18. Father 19. Garden 20. Gift 21. Holiday 22. Key 73

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23. Museum 24. Music 25. Perfume 26. Pizza 27. Seat 28. Tree 29. Umbrella 30. Water. 74

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APPENDIX B AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY QUESTIONNAIRE 1. While remembering the event, the emotions are positive. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all hardly somewhat entirely 2. While remembering the event, the emotions are negative. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all hardly somewhat entirely 3. The emotions that I feel are intense. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all hardly somewhat entirely 4. While remembering the event, I can see it in my mind. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all vaguely distin ctly as clearly as if it were happening now 5. While remembering the event, I can hear it in my mind. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all vaguely distinct ly as clearly as if it were happening now 6. While remembering the event, I k now the setting where it occurred. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all vaguely distinct ly as clearly as if it were happening now 75

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7. While remembering the event, I feel that I travel back to the time when it happened. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all vaguely distinctly completely 8. My memory is unique to my life, I would not expect most people to have similar memories. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all in some details in some main points completely 9. My memory is unique among my other memori es; I do not have other similar memories. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all in some details in some main points completely 10. While remembering the event, it comes to me in words. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 not at all vaguely distinctly completely 11. How old are you in this memory? _______________ years old 76

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LIST OF REFERENCES Baddeley, A. D. (2000). The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory? Trends in Cognitive Science 4, 417-423. Bower, H. B., & Forgas, J. P. (2000). Affect, memory, and social cognition. In E. Eich, J. F. Khilstrom, G. H. Bower, J. P. Forgas, & P. M. Niedenthal (Eds.), Cognition and Emotion (Pp. 87-169). New York: Oxford University Press. Comblain, C., Dargembeau, A., & Van Der Linde n, M. (2005). Phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories for emotional a nd neutral events in older and younger adults. Experimental Aging Research 31, 173-189. Conway, M. A. & Pleydell-Pearce, C. W. ( 2000). The construction of autobiographical memories in the self-memory system. Psychological Review 107, 261-288. Conway, M. A. (1996). Autobiographical memory. In E. L. Bjork & R. A. Bjork (Eds.), Memory: Handbook of perception and cognition (2nd ed.) (pp. 165-194). San Diego, CA, US: Academic Press, Inc. Forgas, J. P. (1995). Mood and judgmen t: The affect infusion model (AIM). Psychological Bulletin 117, 39-66. Forgas, J. P. (1999). Network theories and beyond. In T. Dalgeish & M. Power (Eds.), Handbook of cognition and emotion (Pp. 591-611). New York: John Wiley & Sons. Haque, S. & Conway, M. A. (2001). Sampling the process of autobiographical memory construction. European Journal of Cognitive psychology, 13, 529-547. Harvey, A.G., Bryant, R.A., & Dang, S.T. ( 1998). Autobiographical memory in acute stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 66, 500-506. Kuyken, W., & Brewin, C. R. (1995). Autobiogra phical memory functioning in depression and reports of early abuse. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 104, 585-591. Logie, R. H., Zucco, G. M., Baddeley, A. D. (1990). Interference with visu al short-term memory. Acta Psychologica 55-74. Philippot, P., Schaefer, A., & Herbette, G. (2003 ). Consequences of sp ecific processing of emotional information: Impact of genera l versus specific autobiographical memory priming on emotion elicitation. Emotion, 3, 270-283. Raes, F., Hermans, D., Williams, J. M. G., & Eelen, P. (2006). Reduced autobiographical memory specificity and affect regulation. Cognition and Emotion 20, 402-429. 77

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Salam, P., Burglen, F., & Danion, J. M. (2006). Differential disruptions of working memory components in schizophrenia in an objectl ocation binding task using the suppression paradigm. Journal of the Internatio nal Neuropsychological Society 510-518. Schaefer A. & Philippot P. (2005). Selec tive effects of emotion on the phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories. Memory 13, 148-160. Williams, J. M. G., Barnhofer, T., Crane, C., Herm an D., Raes, F., Watkins, E., & Dalgleish, T. (2007). Autobiographical memory specificity and emotional disorder. Psychological Bulletin 122-148. Williams, J. M. G., Chan, S., Crane, C., Barnhofer T., Eade, J., & Healy, H. (2006). Retrieval of autobiographical memories: The mechanisms and consequences of truncated search. Cognition & Emotion 20, 351-382. 78

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Burhan Ogut was born on July 9, 1978 in G aziantep, Turkey. He st udied teaching physics in college at Bogazici Univer sity-Istanbul, Turkey. He continued his education at Bogazici University as a graduate student in cognitive ps ychology and received his Master of Arts degree in 2003. He started the PhD program in cognitive psychology at the University of Florida in 2003 and received his PhD degree in cognitive ps ychology with a PhD minor in statistics in 2008. 79