Motivational biases in memory for emotions
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This research examined how individuals' motivations and goals were related to their memory for past emotional experiences. In two studies, participants rated how happy and anxious they felt while completing a challenging anagram task and later recalled their emotions. Bias in memory for emotions was predicted by the combination of participants' general motivation (approach BAS vs. avoidance BIS) and the specific goal they set for the task (approach vs. avoidance). Participants with approach motivation and goals overestimated happiness more, and showed a stronger relation between peak and remembered happiness, than other participants. Participants with avoidance motivation and goals overestimated anxiety more, and showed a stronger relation between peak and remembered anxiety, than other participants. Thus motivational factors known to influence attention to valenced information also predict how emotional experiences will be remembered. 2009 Psychology Press.