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Personality, Habits of Thought And Gender Influence How We Remember

Published: April 10, 2012.
By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

But these studies have not looked at differences between men and women, the relationship between positive and negative memories, the frequency with which individuals recall specific memories and the vividness of their memories, he said. Men who were high in neuroticism tended to recall a greater proportion of negative memories than men who were low in neuroticism, while women who were high in neuroticism tended to return to the same negative memories again and again, a process called rumination. Men who engaged in reappraisal, making an effort to think differently about their memories, were likely to recall more positive memories than their peers, while men who used suppression, trying to tamp down their negative emotional responses, saw no pronounced effect on the recall of positive or negative memories.

"I think that the most important thing here is that we really need to look concomitantly at sex- and personality-related differences and to acknowledge that these factors have a different impact on the way we record our memories, on what we are doing with our memories, and later, how what we are doing with our memories is impacting our emotional well-being," said Sanda Dolcos.

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