University of Twente Student Theses


Everybody Cries : The Influence of Valence and Emotional Arousal of Autobiographical Memories on Emotional Crying in Older Adults

Günther, Nina (2021) Everybody Cries : The Influence of Valence and Emotional Arousal of Autobiographical Memories on Emotional Crying in Older Adults.

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Abstract:The aim of the study at hand was to establish which qualities of sad autobiographical memories are related to emotional crying in older adults, since emotional crying in older adults remains scientifically unclear until now. Video recordings of participants (n=23, Mage=74) recalling sad autobiographical memories found within the MEMOA database (Nazareth, Jansen, Truong, Westerhof, & Heylen, 2019) were qualitatively analyzed regarding emotional valence (1), emotional arousal when the event happened (2), emotional arousal during the recall (3) and underlying factors (4). The valence was assessed by use of the Valence of Emotional Memories scale (VEM), emotional arousal via a Self-Assessment manikin (SAM) and underlying factors were coded using a bottom-up approach. The eight crying inducing memories were compared to the memories that did not induce crying (n=53) with regard to the mentioned qualities and were then analyzed individually. The results showed that autobiographical memories that induced crying can be characterized by a low valence and a combination of the underlying factors ‘Feeling of Powerlessness’, ‘Non-Acceptance’, ‘Situation was not Resolved’ and ‘Sadness/Disappointment’. Furthermore, ‘Compassion’ seemed to be related to emotional crying. With regard to arousal, it was found that the arousal during the recall was lower in memories that did induce crying than in memories that did not induce crying, while the negative feelings during the event were rated as more intense in crying inducing memories than it was in the memories that did not induce crying. Overall, the reasons for crying in older adults cannot be fully explained by the qualities valence, arousal and underlying factors, further research including other qualities that might be related to crying, is needed to pinpoint this complex topic. Recommendations for future research are to focus on personality differences or the factor specificity of the memory recall. Moreover, the findings of this study supported the intrapersonal theory of crying, which suggests that crying may be cathartic, and future research should focus on further clarifying this.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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