The effect of language emotionality on recall : a preliminary study



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Ten male and 10 female participants were presented with six narrative paragraphs and six 10 word lists. Three of the paragraphs were emotional and three were neutral. Each of the paragraphs contained 20 information units and each word list included five neutral and five emotional words. Immediately following paragraph or word list presentation, the participants were asked to recall the stimuli. The mean percent of emotional units (i.e. units of information recalled from emotional paragraphs) recalled was significantly greater than the mean percent of neutral units recalled. Similarly, the mean percent emotional words recalled from word lists was significantly greater than the mean percent neutral words recalled from word lists. Percent recall was significantly greater for words than for paragraphs for both emotional and neutral stimuli. Results supported the hypothesis that emotional saliency increases verbal recall.