This study examines whether avoidance of negative memories results in intrusions as well as reduced memory specificity. Healthy participants suppressed memories of either a negative or a neutral autobiographical event. Individuals who suppressed negative memories tended to demonstrate smaller increases in negative mood than those who did not suppress their negative target memory. Neither suppression nor valence of the to-be-suppressed memory predicted decreases in memory specificity. Target memory-related intrusions during autobiographical memory retrieval predicted larger reductions in specific memory recall. Our findings are discussed in terms of affect regulation and other accounts of over-general memory.

, , , , , , , , , ,,
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Department of Psychology

Geraerts, E.G, Hauer, B.J.A, & Wessel, I. (2010). Effects of suppressing negative memories on intrusions and autobiographical memory specificity. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24(3), 387–398. doi:10.1002/acp.1684