If you want to remember new information, looking at photographs that stir up negative emotions may do the trick, suggests new research from Psychological Science. Yeah, we know that sounds counterintuitive -- but it appears to work.
When study participants viewed color images of a dead cat, a pointed gun, or a person getting a dental exam -- pictures that evoke negative feelings -- it actually improved their recall of recently learned information.
In this case, 40 college students were asked to bone up on 100 vocabulary words in Swahili along with their English translations. (Example: "Mashua" means "boat" in Swahili, if you're going to east Africa.)
Volunteers were then tested on the vocabulary pairs, 10 words at a time. After they gave a correct answer, participants were shown a negatively arousing photo, a neutral image, such as a fork or shoelaces, or a blank screen. If they gave the wrong response, they saw a blank screen or neutral image.
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