Emotions are Salient in Prosocial Reminiscences
Keywords:Emotional Processing, Incidental Memory, Reminiscence, Prosocial Reminiscences
This study uses an incidental memory paradigm to examine processing of emotional information in three types of reminiscence (narrative, transmissive, and integrative). Better memory of emotional contents in prosocial reminiscences (transmissive and narrative) was expected on the basis of their hypothesized role in emotional regulation. Eighty-four participants between the ages of 20 and 85 (age groups: 20-44, 45-64, and 65-85 years) were randomly assigned to read one of three short stories exemplifying either an integrative, narrative, or transmissive reminiscence containing comparable amounts of emotional elements. As expected, participants assigned to reading the transmissive or narrative reminiscence recalled significantly more emotional elements than those having read the integrative story. This finding provides evidence for preferential processing of emotional information in transmissive and narrative reminiscences, which is in line with the putative role of these reminiscences in emotional regulation.