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Scientific article
English

Overestimating the intensity of negative feelings in autobiographical memory: Evidence from the 9/11 attack and COVID-19 pandemic

Published inCognition and emotion, p. 1-16
Publication date2024-05-07
First online date2024-05-07
Abstract

When recalling autobiographical events, people not only retrieve event details but also the feelings they experienced. The current study examined whether people are able to consistently recall the intensity of past feelings associated with two consequential and negatively valenced events, i.e. the 9/11 attack (N = 769) and the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 726). By comparing experienced and recalled intensities of negative feelings, we discovered that people systematically recall a higher intensity of negative feelings than initially reported – overestimating the intensity of past negative emotional experiences. The COVID-19 dataset also revealed that individuals who experienced greater improvement in emotional well- being displayed smaller biases in recalling their feelings. Across both datasets, the intensity of remembered feelings was correlated with initial feelings and current feelings, but the impact of the current feelings was stronger in the COVID-19 dataset than in the 9/11 dataset. Our results demonstrate that when recalling negative autobiographical events, people tend to overestimate the intensity of prior negative emotional experiences with their degree of bias influenced by current feelings and well-being.

eng
Keywords
  • Memory
  • Appraisal
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Emotion
  • Well-being
Funding
Citation (ISO format)
CASTILLO, Juan et al. Overestimating the intensity of negative feelings in autobiographical memory: Evidence from the 9/11 attack and COVID-19 pandemic. In: Cognition and emotion, 2024, p. 1–16. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2024.2346757
Main files (2)
Article (Accepted version)
accessLevelRestrictedaccessLevelPublic 05/08/2025
Article (Published version)
accessLevelRestricted
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0269-9931
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Technical informations

Creation05/09/2024 3:25:36 PM
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Update time05/21/2024 2:32:17 PM
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