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Forgotten but not gone: the recall and recognition of self-threatening memories

Green, Jeffrey D., Sedikides, Constantine and Gregg, Aiden P. (2007) Forgotten but not gone: the recall and recognition of self-threatening memories Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, (3), pp. 547-561.

Record type: Article


When people selectively forget feedback that threatens the self (mnemic neglect), are those memories permanently lost or potentially recoverable? In two experiments, participants processed feedback pertaining either to themselves or to another person. Feedback consisted of a mixture of positive and negative behaviors exemplifying traits that were both central and peripheral to participants’ self-definition. In Experiment 1, participants exhibited poorer recall for, but unimpaired recognition of, self-threatening feedback (i.e., negative, central, self-referent), relative to both self-affirming feedback (positive, central, self-referent) and other-relevant feedback (positive/negative, central, other-referent). In Experiment 2, participants who had experienced ego-deflation, but not ego-inflation, exhibited mnemic neglect for recall, but not for recognition. Both experiments imply that, even after being self-protectively neglected, self-threatening memories can still be retrieved.

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Submitted date: September 2007
Keywords: self-protection, recall, recognition, repression, feedback, neglect, inhibition, retrieval


Local EPrints ID: 63104
ISSN: 0022-1031
PURE UUID: 49b7c586-dcba-41eb-b3c3-e3c63fe69644

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Date deposited: 10 Sep 2008
Last modified: 30 Aug 2017 08:07

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Author: Jeffrey D. Green
Author: Aiden P. Gregg

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