Memory for positive versus negative life events: Theories for the differences between happy and unhappy persons
Seidlitz, L., & Diener, E. (1993). Memory for positive versus negative life events: Theories for the differences between happy and unhappy persons. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 654-664.
Three studies examined the following hypotheses for the relation of subjective well-being (SWB) with memory for positive versus negative life events: (1) differences in retrieval mood, (2) the incidence of positive and negative events, (3) the interpretation of events, and (4) frequency of rehearsal. In Studies 1 (n = 420) and 2 (n = 94), the partial correlation of retrieval mood with recall, controlling for SWB, was trivial, suggesting that mood had little or no effect on recall. Endorsement frequencies of positive minus negative concrete events and interpretive events on checklists in Studies 2 and 3 each correlated with SWB (ps < .001), suggesting that both incidence and interpretation contributed to the recall differences. In Study 3, the recall of 55 Ss from Study 2 was retested after an 11-mo interval. The lack of an interaction between SWB and recall change suggested that rehearsal did not contribute to the recall differences.
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