Failure of positive but not negative emotional valence to enhance memory in schizophrenia

Ellen S. Herbener, Cherise Rosen, Tin Khine, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Abnormalities in the integration of emotion and cognition have long been considered hallmark characteristics of schizophrenia. Study authors used a well-established emotional memory model from the neuroscience literature to assess the facilitative impact of emotional valence of information on long-term memory consolidation in schizophrenia. Participants with schizophrenia (n=33) indicated somewhat higher levels of emotional intensity in response to emotional images than did healthy (n=28) participants. However, when recognition memory was tested 24 hr later, schizophrenia participants did not show enhancement of memory for positive images as was found in healthy participants. Their memory enhancement for negative images did not differ from that of healthy participants. Correlations between self-reported physical and social anhedonia were significantly inversely correlated with intensity ratings of positive stimuli during the encoding phase for healthy participants but were negligible for schizophrenia participants. These results suggest a failure to adequately integrate positive emotional experience in memory consolidation processes in schizophrenia participants, despite appropriate initial response to positive stimuli, which may contribute to symptoms such as anhedonia by reducing the long-term impact of positive experiences in motivating hedonic behavior in day-to-day life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Anhedonia
  • Emotion
  • Emotion intensity
  • Emotional memory
  • Memory consolidation
  • Memory enhancement
  • Negative valence
  • Positive valence
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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