Emotional salience and the isolation effect

Hajime Otani, Nicholas R. Von Glahn, Terry M. Libkuman, Phillip N. Goernert, Koichi Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


When a homogeneous list contains a few items that are different from the rest of the items in the list, these isolated items show enhanced recall compared to the same items in a list where these items are not isolated. This phenomenon, known as the isolation effect, has been explained on the basis of isolated items eliciting salience. In this experiment, negative pictures and neutral pictures were isolated at the early and late part of the list. The salience explanation would predict that participants would pay more attention to these isolated items resulting in higher judgments of learning (JOL) ratings compared to the same items in the control list. Negative pictures showed the isolation effect for both early and late isolation; however, for early isolation, JOL was similar between the isolated and non-isolated pictures indicating that the emotional isolation effect does not require emotional salience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • emotional salience
  • emotional stimuli
  • isolation effect
  • judgments of learning


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