Date of Award

9-13-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Scoboria, Alan

Keywords

autobiographical memory, cannabis, fading affect bias, specificity

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

While the association between cannabis use and verbal and working memory impairment is well documented, the relationships between cannabis use and autobiographical memory are less understood. This study investigated the relationship between cannabis use and two phenomenon associated with autobiographical memory: the fading affect bias (FAB) and memory specificity. The FAB occurs when the intensity of affect associated with negative memories fades faster than the intensity of affect associated with positive memories. Memory specificity refers to the level of detail with which an event is recalled (with more details signifying more specificity). Few studies have examined the relationships between substance use and memory specificity or the FAB. Cannabis using (N = 47) and non-using (N = 52) participants recalled positive and negative autobiographical events, which they rated on affect intensity at the time of the original event and currently. Participants also recalled additional autobiographical memories using a free-recall procedure, which were coded for specificity. The affect of unpleasant events for cannabis users faded significantly less than for non-users, and memory specificity was lower in cannabis users compared to non-users.

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