How thinking about what could have been affects how we feel about what was

Cognition and Emotion 33 (4):646-659 (2018)

Felipe De Brigard
Duke University
ABSTRACTEpisodic counterfactual thoughts and autobiographical memories involve the reactivation and recombination of episodic memory components into mental simulations. Upon reactivation, memories become labile and prone to modification. Thus, reactivating AM in the context of mentally generating CFT may provide an opportunity for editing processes to modify the content of the original memory. To examine this idea, this paper reports the results of two studies that investigated the effect of reactivating negative and positive AM in the context of either imagining a better or a worse alternative to an experienced event, as opposed to attentively retrieving the memory without mental modification or no reactivation. Our results suggest that attentive remembering was the best strategy to both reduce the negative affect associated with negative AM, and to prevent the decay of positive affect associated with positive AM. In addition, reactivati...
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DOI 10.1080/02699931.2018.1478280
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References found in this work BETA

The Cognitive Control of Emotion.K. N. Ochsner & J. J. Gross - 2005 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (5):242-249.
Emotion and Vantage Point in Autobiographical.Dorthe Berntsen & David C. Rubin - 2006 - Cognition and Emotion 20 (8):1193-1215.

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