Sunday, October 23, 2011

Do We Remember Bad Things More? Not in Baseball...

Effects of Event Valence on Long-Term Memory for Two Baseball Championship Games

Carolyn Breslin & Martin Safer, Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract: We investigated how event valence affected accuracy and vividness of
long-term memory for two comparable public events. In 2008, 1,563 fans answered questions about objective details concerning two decisive baseball championship games between the Yankees (2003 winners) and the Red Sox (2004 winners). Both between- and within-groups analyses indicated that fans remembered the game their team won significantly more accurately than the game their team lost. Fans also reported more vividness and more rehearsal for the game their team won. We conclude that individuals rehearse positive events more than comparable negative events, and that this additional rehearsal increases both vividness and accuracy of memories about positive events. Our results differ from those of prior studies involving memories for negative events that may have been unavoidably rehearsed; such rehearsal may have kept those memories from fading. Long-term memory for an event is
determined not only by the valence of the event, but also by experiences after the event.

(Nod to Kevin Lewis)

LAGNIAPPE: Along those lines...

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