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Volume 10 Issue 3 (2014)

Trait anxiety reduces affective fading for both positive and negative autobiographical memories original article

pp. 81-89 | First published on 30 September 2014 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0159-0

W. Richard Walker, Cecile N. Yancu, John J. Skowronski


The affect associated with negative events fades faster than the affect associated with positive events (the Fading Affect Bias; the FAB). The research that we report examined the relation between trait anxiety and the FAB. Study 1 assessed anxiety using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale; Studies 2 and 3 used the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Studies 1 and 2 used retrospective procedures to probe positive event memories and negative event memories while Study 3 used a diary procedure. The results of all 3 studies showed that increased anxiety was associated with both a lowered FAB and lower overall affect fading for both positive events and negative events. These results suggest that for people free of trait anxiety, the FAB reflects the operation of a healthy coping mechanism in autobiographical memory that is disrupted by trait anxiety.

Keywords: trait anxiety, fading affect bias, emotion, autobiographical memory

The effect of spatial organization of targets and distractors on the capacity to selectively memorize objects in visual short-term memory original article

pp. 90-103 | First published on 30 September 2014 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0160-x

Aymen Ben Abbes, Emmanuelle Gavault, Thierry Ripoll


We conducted a series of experiments to explore how the spatial configuration of objects influences the selection and the processing of these objects in a visual short-term memory task. We designed a new experiment in which participants had to memorize 4 targets presented among 4 distractors. Targets were cued during the presentation of distractor objects. Their locations varied according to 4 spatial configurations. From the first to the last configuration, the distance between targets’ locations was progressively increased. The results revealed a high capacity to select and memorize targets embedded among distractors even when targets were extremely distant from each other. This capacity is discussed in relation to the unitary conception of attention, models of split attention, and the competitive interaction model. Finally, we propose that the spatial dispersion of objects has different effects on attentional allocation and processing stages. Thus, when targets are extremely distant from each other, attentional allocation becomes more difficult while processing becomes easier. This finding implicates that these 2 aspects of attention need to be more clearly distinguished in future research.

Keywords: visual short-term memory, selective attention, spatial organization, cueing

Discrimination in measures of knowledge monitoring accuracy original article

pp. 104-112 | First published on 30 September 2014 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0161-y

Christopher A. Was


Knowledge monitoring predicts academic outcomes in many contexts. However, measures of knowledge monitoring accuracy are often incomplete. In the current study, a measure of students’ ability to discriminate known from unknown information as a component of knowledge monitoring was considered. Undergraduate students’ knowledge monitoring accuracy was assessed and used to predict final exam scores in a specific course. It was found that gamma, a measure commonly used as the measure of knowledge monitoring accuracy, accounted for a small, but significant amount of variance in academic performance whereas the discrimination and bias indexes combined to account for a greater amount of variance in academic performance.

Keywords: knowledge monitoring, metacognition, measures of knowledge monitoring

Mood Induction in Children: Effect of the Affective Valence of a Text on Phonological Working Memory original article

pp. 113-118 | First published on 30 September 2014 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0162-z

Michaël Fartoukh, Lucile Chanquoy, Annie Piolat


The influence of mood on working memory capacity has been investigated in adults, albeit with conflicting results, but remains relatively unexplored in children. The present study examined the effect of a mood induction procedure on phonological working memory capacity in fourth and fifth graders. An initial working memory span test was followed first by a collective mood induction procedure, then by a second working memory span test. Results showed an effect of mood induction procedure on phonological working memory performances, with decreasing scores in the case of negative mood. These results suggest that, in certain contexts and situations, negative emotion has an impact on children’s cognitive abilities.

Keywords: children, text valence, emotion, mood, phonological working memory