Null's the word

A comparison of memory quality for intensely negative and positive events

Theo Waters, Jennifer G. Bohanek, Kelly Marin, Robyn Fivush

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Research comparing memories of traumatic and positive events has produced inconsistent results. Complicating the issue, researchers employ a variety of measures (e.g., narrative or questionnaire) that make comparison across studies difficult. Further, this research has been criticised for lacking adequate statistical controls (Sotgiu & Mormont, 2008). Our study employed both narrative and questionnaire methodologies and compared memories for highly negative and positive events while controlling for retention interval, intensity of the event, and word count in the narrative measures. A total of 108 racially diverse college undergraduates wrote narratives and completed the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire about the most negative and the most positive event they had experienced, and memories were assessed for narrative coherence, language indicative of cognition, insight and sensory experience, subjective ratings of clarity, sensory detail, contextual detail, temporal detail, and the inclusion of thoughts and feelings. Results indicate no differences between memories for highly negative and positive events when retention interval and emotional intensity are controlled.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)633-645
    Number of pages13
    JournalMemory
    Volume21
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

    Fingerprint

    Research
    Cognition
    Emotions
    Language
    Research Personnel
    Surveys and Questionnaires
    Questionnaire
    Retention (Psychology)
    Methodology
    Contextual
    Rating
    Clarity
    Sensory Experience
    Inclusion
    Controlled
    Undergraduate
    Emotion
    Indicative

    Keywords

    • Autobiographical memory
    • Emotion
    • Memory quality
    • Trauma
    • Valence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Psychology(all)

    Cite this

    Null's the word : A comparison of memory quality for intensely negative and positive events. / Waters, Theo; Bohanek, Jennifer G.; Marin, Kelly; Fivush, Robyn.

    In: Memory, Vol. 21, No. 6, 01.08.2013, p. 633-645.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Waters, Theo ; Bohanek, Jennifer G. ; Marin, Kelly ; Fivush, Robyn. / Null's the word : A comparison of memory quality for intensely negative and positive events. In: Memory. 2013 ; Vol. 21, No. 6. pp. 633-645.
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