Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Rose Strasser


Research supports the theory that stimuli, including experiences, words, and faces, with an emotional connotation are more easily remembered than stimuli with a more neutral connotation. The scientific community has expanded this theory by manipulating a variety of variables, including participant age, time between encoding and retrieval, and “taboo” words in comparison to more neutral categories, to name a few. The current study seeks to expand upon the previous findings by examining emotional and neutral facial stimuli while manipulating the age of the stimulus face. To do this, participants were shown 10 photos in each of the following categories: young neutral, young angry, young smiling, old neutral, old angry, and old smiling faces. Each image was shown for 2.5 seconds, followed by a 1-second blank screen. After the stimuli were shown, participants took a recall test to determine which category had the highest recall accuracy. After analyzing the data, researchers found that there was a main effect between the recall accuracy of old happy and old angry faces. More specifically, participants were more likely to remember the faces in the old happy category than they were in the old angry category. In regard to the main hypothesis, there was no main effect between the recall accuracy rate of young emotional (smiling and angry) and old emotional faces. While the results were not significant, the findings help further the field in that researchers now know how to better guide the participants rather than allowing them to take the survey independently. Future studies can replicate this study in a laboratory setting to better understand the true effect of old and young facial memorability.

Included in

Psychology Commons