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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Experimental Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Jason F. Reimer


To date, there is limited research that examined the extent to which infants can retain emotion information acquired in a social referencing encounter. The purpose of this study was to examine infants’ memory process for emotion acquired in a social referencing paradigm and the longevity of these memories. We predicted that infants would approach objects paired with a positive and avoid objects paired with a negative emotion. Furthermore, we examined the relationships between looking behaviors at encoding and subsequent behaviors during retrieval after a 10-minute delay. Ten- to fourteen- month-old were exposed to a social referencing paradigm with their encoding behaviors recorded on an eye tracker, then after a 10-minute delay infants were presented with the objects and their retrieval behaviors towards each object were recorded. There were no significant differences in encoding and retrieval behaviors between emotion conditions. However, there were significant correlations between encoding and retrieval behaviors between positive and negative conditions such as quicker latency towards the target at encoding resulted in a longer touch duration towards the object during retrieval in the positive condition and longer looking duration towards the target object at encoding resulted in more avoidance behaviors towards the object during retrieval in the negative condition. Results from the study add to our understanding of infants’ memory for emotion and its processes suggesting a relationship encoding and subsequent retrieval behaviors.

Key words: memory, infants, emotion, social referencing