Navigation Links
The memories you want to forget are the hardest ones to lose
Date:8/15/2007

CHAPEL HILL Painful, emotional memories that people would most like to forget may be the toughest to leave behind, especially when memories are created through visual cues, according to a new study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

When youre watching the news on television and see footage of wounded soldiers in Iraq or ongoing coverage of national tragedies, it may stick with you more than a newspaper headline, said the studys lead author, Keith Payne, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

It is adaptive to be able to intentionally forget neutral events such as wrong directions, a friends outdated phone number or a switched meeting time. Intentional forgetting helps update memory with new information, Payne said.

But Payne and former psychology graduate student Elizabeth Corrigan found that even mild emotional events, like getting a bad grade on a test or a negative comment from a coworker, can be hard to forget. Their study, Emotional constraints on intentional forgetting, appears in the September 2007 print issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

When people are trying to intentionally forget information, they need to mentally segregate that information and then block off the information they dont want to retrieve, Payne said.

Emotion undermines both of those steps. You make a lot of connections between emotional events and other parts of your life, so it might be difficult to isolate them. As far as blocking retrieval of an unwanted event, emotion makes events very salient and therefore highly accessible, Payne said.

Their results contrast with previous studies of emotional events and intentional forgetting, but those studies used emotion-laden words as stimuli, like death and sex. The UNC study took a new approach, asking 218 participants to react to photographs instead of text.

The word murder, for instance, may or may not make you afraid, but if you see a graphic, violent picture, it may be powerful enough emotionally to change the way you feel, Payne said.

The researchers found that their subjects could not intentionally forget emotional events as easily as mundane ones. They also found that both pleasant and unpleasant emotional memories were resistant to intentional forgetting.

The UNC findings contribute to understanding the ways that emotion constrains mental control and to the question of whether intentional forgetting can be helpful in coping with painful or traumatic experiences.

Our findings add to accumulating evidence that emotion places limits on the ability to control the contents of the mind, Payne said. Our results suggest that even a relatively mild emotional reaction can undermine intentional forgetting. But this doesnt necessarily mean that emotional memories can never be intentionally forgotten. If the motivation to forget is powerful enough, individuals might be able to overcome the effects of emotion by enlisting additional coping strategies.

A different study would be needed to examine what treatment and coping strategies might be effective in helping people voluntarily forget an unwanted memory, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Clinton Colmenares
clinton_colmenares@unc.edu
919-843-1991
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Memories change with age
2. Research Finds How Post-traumatic Stress Leads to Long-Lasting Memories
3. Peaceful Slumber said to Restore Memories
4. Humans Found To Have The Ability To Block Unwanted Memories
5. Sensitive teeth could become bad memories
6. Slow Learners Have Longer Memories
7. Memories Linked To Their Packaging In The Brain
8. Creating Memories During Sleep
9. Treat Childhood Trauma by Building on Parental Memories of Loving Care
10. Wiping Out Memories Selectively, is Possible Now
11. Memories Lost Due to Neuro-degenerative Diseases may Be Restored
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 30, 2017 , ... Sports Brand ... brace, which retails normally at $29.97; for the remaining days of March, the ... also been reduced to a special price of just $10 (regular retail price $19.97). ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... AngioGenesis ... Walgreens store in Mississippi. AngioGenesis Labs, makers of HeartBoost, BrainBest and BeautyBest, achieved ... states. Ingredients in HeartBoost, an over the counter heart healthy drink, can reduce ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... ... provides insight into the challenges employers face in trying to balance both short-term ... employee benefits programs? Adding to the growing complexity, companies are finding that ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Dr. Angela Cotey, a noted general dentist in ... pediatric patients, with or without a referral. Dr. Cotey knows that interceptive orthodontics ... and experience. When patients receive early treatment, they may achieve straight teeth with less ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... How big ... outpatient facilities, and who are the most active developers? , In the ... Healthcare Real Estate Insights (HREI) found that outpatient medical real estate development projects ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 Revenue Prospects by Product ... and COPD) and Geography Respiratory Inhalers - our new ... the Respiratory Inhalers market heading? If you are involved in this ... report shows you the potential revenues streams to 2027, assessing data, ... ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , Mar. 29, 2017 Research ... Neuromonitoring (IONM) Market Size & Forecast By Type (Insource IONM, ... 2025" report to their offering. ... The global Intraoperative Neuromonitoring ... 2025. The intraoperative neuromonitoring market is anticipated to witness significant ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... report to their offering. ... The global energy-based aesthetic devices market to grow at ... The report, Global Energy-Based Aesthetic Devices Market 2017-2021, has been prepared ... The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: