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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 4/2021

10-04-2020 | Original Article

Gender differences in the experienced emotional intensity of experimentally induced memories of negative scenes

Auteurs: Søren Risløv Staugaard, Dorthe Berntsen

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 4/2021

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Abstract

It is well documented that women have an increased risk of emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Such disorders are typically characterized by intrusive memories and rumination of past events, but findings are mixed as to whether women have enhanced access to memories of emotional events. Some studies have found that women, compared with men, report more frequent and more intense memories of emotionally stressful events, whereas other studies have failed to replicate this effect. These conflicting findings may reflect the use of different memory sampling techniques (e.g., retrospective vs. experimental data) and limited control for factors associated with both gender and emotional memory. The purpose of the present study was to investigate gender differences in memory for emotionally negative events, using three different sampling methods, while at the same time controlling for parameters that might co-vary with gender. Consistent with some previous studies, we found that women and men did not differ in their frequencies of emotionally negative involuntary memories. However, women rated their memories as more intense and arousing than men did, and women also reported higher increases in state anxiety after retrieval. Female gender accounted for unique variance in the emotional intensity and subjective arousal associated with negative memories, when controlling for other theoretically derived variables. The findings provide evidence that female gender is associated with a stronger emotional response to memories of negative events, but not that women remember such events more frequently than men do.
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Voetnoten
1
We compared the raw frequency of voluntary memories to the raw frequency of involuntary memories in response to the first 32 familiar cues in each condition. Participants in the voluntary condition reported about twice as many memories in response to their 32 cues compared with participants in the involuntary condition [vol: M = 16.1, SD = 7.0; inv: M = 7.0, SD = 6.1; t(90) = 6.56, p < 0.0001].
 
2
In order to examine the effect of this interaction on memory, we conducted all of the main analyses described below (proportion, bodily reaction, emotional intensity, specificity, and reaction time) with the BDI-II as a covariate. None of these analyses showed any significant effects of depression (ps > 0.148, \(\eta_{{\text{p}}}^{2}\) < 0.03).
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Gender differences in the experienced emotional intensity of experimentally induced memories of negative scenes
Auteurs
Søren Risløv Staugaard
Dorthe Berntsen
Publicatiedatum
10-04-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 4/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01334-z