Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. June Gruber

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Whisman

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher Heathwood

Abstract

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic psychiatric disorder that is associated with heightened and persistent positive emotion (Gruber, 2011; Johnson, 2005). Yet we know less about underlying cognitive processes that may influence these observed biases in emotionality. One promising approach is to examine cognitive processes, such as declarative memory, that may serve as an important window into understanding how individuals with BD remember emotion-laden stimuli. The current study presented standardized positive, negative and neutral emotion eliciting images to remitted BD I adults (n=26) and healthy controls (CTL; n=24) and measured accuracy in recall after a subsequent 60-minute delay period. Results suggest that the BD group exhibited increased memory accuracy for neutral images compared to the CTL group; however, groups did not differ in positive or negative memory accuracy. Findings may provide insight into potential cognitive processes that maintain heightened positive emotional responding in BD.

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