Dysphoric and nondysphoric college students described self-generated images of themselves interacting with the referents of neutral nouns; the nouns were paired with adjectives that changed their emotional meaning (e.g., cruise ship, cargo ship, sinking ship). On the subsequent unexpected test, the nouns from emotional pairings were more frequently recalled than were those from neutral pairings, regardless of their valence or congruence with the students' mood. An examination of the initial descriptions revealed that emotional images were more distinctive, but not in a pattern correlated with recall of the corresponding nouns.
Hertel, P.T., & Parks, C. (2002). Emotional episodes facilitate word recall. Cognition and Emotion, 16(5), 685-694. doi: 10.1080/02699930143000491
Cognition and Emotion