Emotional Impact Feedback Changes How We Remember Negative Autobiographical Experiences

Melanie Takarangi, Deryn Strange

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    When people are told that their negative memories are worse than other people's, do they later remember those events differently? We asked participants to recall a recent negative memory then, 24 h later, we gave some participants feedback about the emotional impact of their event - stating it was more or less negative compared to other people's experiences. One week later, participants recalled the event again. We predicted that if feedback affected how participants remembered their negative experiences, their ratings of the memory's characteristics should change over time. That is, when participants are told that their negative event is extremely negative, their memories should be more vivid, recollected strongly, and remembered from a personal perspective, compared to participants in the other conditions. Our results provide support for this hypothesis. We suggest that external feedback might be a potential mechanism in the relationship between negative memories and psychological well-being.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)354-359
    Number of pages6
    JournalExperimental Psychology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Autobiographical memory
    • Memory distortion
    • Psychological well-being


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