شادی ذهنی و حافظه شرح حال: تفاوت در نسبت رویدادهای مثبت و انتقال و ابراز هیجانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|37972||2015||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 72, January 2015, Pages 171–176
Abstract This study aims to investigate the relationship between subjective happiness and autobiographical memories having a controlled emotional state from three aspects: high ratio of positive emotional memories; intensity of positive emotions; and differences in expression or transmission of the experienced events. The participants were 186 Japanese undergraduates who were administered the Japanese version of the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) after which emotion induction was conducted and the emotional state was assessed to control participant’s emotional state as a neutral. The participants were then given five minutes to recall the events that they experienced over the past five years. Results showed that (1) the ratio of remembering positive emotional events increased with an increase in subjective happiness; (2) the ratio of communicating with others by less happy people was significantly lower than that by individuals with medium and high levels of happiness; and (3) the intensity of emotions was not associated with differences in individual happiness. Finally, the structures of subjective happiness from the viewpoint of autobiographical memories and emotions are discussed.
Introduction Happiness is one of the important themes in psychology, and the differences between happy and less happy people have been the subject of focus in various studies. For example, happy people have highly satisfying relationships with their families, romantic partners, and friends, and they generally experience more positive events and emotions in their daily lives than negative ones (Diener & Seligman, 2002). Furthermore, happiness plays an important role in building good communities and societies (Myers, 1992) in addition to having a positive effect on effective coping, mental and physical health, and longevity (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). As for the relationship with personality traits, happiness is positively predicted by extraversion, whereas it is negatively influenced by neuroticism (Cheng and Furnham, 2003 and Lü et al., 2014). Why do happy people have these characteristics? Lyubomirsky and Tucker (1998) reported that happy people tend to recall both positive and negative life events favorably and adaptively. They further suggested that happy people perceive, evaluate, and think about certain events in more positive ways than unhappy people. Lyubomirsky (2001) suggested that happy and unhappy individuals differ in their particular cognitive, judgmental, and motivational strategies. Moreover, she stated that cognitive and motivational processes mainly appear to operate automatically and without awareness. In this paper on autobiographical memory studies, I argue that there are three possible mechanisms for understanding the differences between happy and unhappy people: (1) the high ratio of positive emotional memories; (2) the intensity of positive emotions; and (3) the differences in expression or transmission of the emotional events. First, I discuss previous studies that have investigated the emotional valence (i.e., positive versus negative) of autobiographical memories. Some studies have shown that our recollections of the past often tend to be positively biased. For instance, studies of emotional memory (Anisfeld and Lambert, 1966 and Stagner, 1933) have shown a predilection for the positive/pleasant over the negative/unpleasant. Other studies (Berntsen, 1996 and Berntsen and Hall, 2004) reported that involuntary autobiographical memories in daily life are more often about positive than about negative events. On the other hand, in specific situations such as recollections of traumatic experiences, negative biases have been found (McNally et al., 1994 and Tromp et al., 1995). Individuals in a negative emotional state are characterized by an increased focus on negative autobiographical memories and less positive emotion; this result has been found in cases of depression (Werner-Seidler & Moulds, 2012) and social anxiety (Moscovitch, Gavric, Merrifield, Bielak, & Moscovitch, 2011). Accordingly, individuals who have experienced trauma or negative emotional states are more likely to display high levels of negative emotion in their responses to memory recollection. In contrast, Seidlitz and Diener (1993) indicated that happy people recall a greater number of positive events and fewer negative events compared with unhappy people. Mayer, Gaschke, Braverman, and Evans (1992) investigated whether happy people believe that good weather is more likely than bad weather, and reported that happy people interpret their life circumstances more positively than less happy people. Thus, such findings suggest that the differences in the ratio of emotional memories are due to individual happiness, and that happy people have high ratios of positive emotions in autobiographical memories. Accordingly, what is the breakdown of these ratios? And how high are these ratios of positive emotions in autobiographical memories of happy people? According to previous studies on autobiographical memories, the ratio of positive emotions was generally high compared to negative ones, although the conclusions do not specifically mention it. For example, when recalling an event that occurred over a 30-day period, Flügel (1925) showed that the ratio of emotional memories was 50.1% for positive emotions, 22.2% for negative emotions, and 27.8% for neutral emotions. Furthermore, Waldfogel (1948) reported that, when recalling past events, the ratio of emotional memories was approximately 50% for positive events, roughly 30% for negative events, and 20% for neutral events. However, these results are not entirely consistent, and there have been limited studies on the ratio of emotions in autobiographical memories and how this ratio differs from individual happiness. Thus, as one aspect regarding the differences between happy and unhappy people, this study focuses on the ratio of emotions. However, previous studies only compared people with high and low levels of subjective happiness. Therefore, in the present study I also consider people in the medium range, classifying participants into three groups: happy people (high-happiness group), those whose degree of happiness is average (medium-happiness group), and unhappy people (low-happiness group), based on their subjective happiness scores. Furthermore, I hypothesized that this method, by identifying individual differences in greater detail through the delineating of three groups, would show a gradual change in the ratio of positive to negative emotional memories, correlated with levels of subjective happiness. Moreover, significant research exists on mood-congruent recall. In other words, it is relatively easy to recall autobiographical memories with emotional valence, which is the same for current emotion (Blaney, 1986 and Bower and Forgas, 2001). Levine (1997) reported that the recall of emotional events depends on the present state of the individual. Therefore, to exclude the influence of the emotional state immediately before recollection, this study investigates the autobiographical memories after establishing neutral emotions in the participants. Second, concerning the intensity of positive emotions, previous studies have examined the relationship between emotional intensity and autobiographical memories. Holmes (1970) investigated this relationship using emotional balance (pleasant and unpleasant experiences) and emotional intensity and suggested that unpleasant experiences were generally recalled with less intensity than pleasant experiences. Bower (1981) showed that emotional intensity ratings were predictive of recall; that is, the mood-congruity effect stems from the influence of emotional intensity on memory. Talarico, LaBar, and Rubin (2004) indicated that intensity was a more consistent predictor of autographical memory properties than either valence or the age of the memory. They suggested that the effects of emotion on autobiographical memory properties are primarily due to these differences in emotional intensity between memories. Seidlitz, Wyer, and Diener (1997) investigated the relationship between happiness and the cognitive processing of affective life events balance, and they reported that relatively more intense and enduring reactions to positive versus negative events were associated with higher levels of happiness. In turn, they further suggested that these differing reactions to events contributed to happiness, and more intense and enduring reactions to events were associated with a better recall of the events. These results indicate that the differences between happy and unhappy people suggest the differences in the perceived intensity and duration of emotional memory reactions. Thus, regarding autobiographical memories in life events, it can be stated that a happy person possesses a high degree of emotional intensity for positive memories, whereas an unhappy person possesses a high level of emotional intensity for negative memories. However, there have been no empirical studies on these differences and perspectives in autobiographical memories, particularly with regard to the differences in individual happiness. Third, differences in expression or transmission of the emotional events is expected; that is, the differences with regard to whether or not people talk about experienced events and share their emotions with others. Considering the previous findings that happy people generally have good relationships with others, it can be suggested that such people enjoy talking about their experienced emotional events. In other words, happy people tend to share their emotions and talk about emotional events with others more than those who are unhappy; this may be one factor for such happiness in happy people. Even if people do not verbally describe their experienced events, writing about such events as a means of emotional expression can differ between happy and less happy people. For example, Pennebaker (1997) showed that writing about previous traumatic events, such as emotions, thoughts, and memories, has many positive effects on health and well-being. Harris (2006) conducted a meta-analysis of the effects of expressive writing on health and reported that writing about stressful experiences reduced healthcare utilization in healthy people but not in those who had medical diagnoses, psychological factors, or exposure to stress. Based on the aforementioned studies, it can be suggested that the effects of expressive writing can differ according to an individual’s state of health. However, to date, no studies have investigated the relationship between such a method of emotional expression and individual happiness. Accordingly, this study aims to investigate the relationship between subjective happiness and autobiographical memories from three aspects: high ratio of positive emotional memories; intensity of positive emotions; and differences in expression or transmission of the experienced events. This study is also distinguished, as noted earlier, by the analysis of three separate groups according to levels of subjective happiness: high, medium, and low. The study design permits assessment of the impact on autobiographical memories of gradations of change in subjective happiness. Three hypotheses are proposed. As subjective happiness increases, individuals are expected to (1) have higher ratios of positive emotions for autobiographical memories, (2) have a higher degree of emotional intensity regarding positive memories, and (3) discuss experienced events and share their emotions with others more readily.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
. Results 3.1. Assessment of subjective happiness and neutral state The total mean score of all four items on the JSHS was 16.9 (SD = 4.02). Based on their JSHS scores and the standard deviation, participants were divided into three groups: the high-happiness group (scores greater than 20, n = 42; 24 males and 18 females), the medium-happiness group (scores from 13 to 19, n = 119; 52 males and 67 females), and the low-happiness group (scores less than 12, n = 25; 9 males and 16 females). Following this classification, the total scores were averaged into a single JSHS composite score. The mean JSHS item score was 5.71 (SD = 0.42) for the high-happiness group, 4.13 (SD = 0.56) for the medium-happiness group, and 2.44 (SD = 0.49) for the low-happiness group. According to the JSHS scores for each of the aforementioned groups, no difference was observed regarding the sex of the participants. To assess the validity of neutral emotion induction, the Visual Faces Scale was employed. The mean scores of the scale, after emotion induction, were 3.64 (SD = 0.66) for the high-happiness group, 3.63 (SD = 0.64) for the medium-happiness group, and 3.76 (SD = 0.72) for the low-happiness group. No significant differences were observed, which suggests the validity of neutral emotion induction in all the groups. 3.2. The number of recollected events and the percentages of emotional memories I considered whether there was any difference between groups in the total number of recollected events. The mean of the total number of recollected events for the autobiographical memories show no significant differences in the three groups (high-happiness group: M = 9.52, SD = 3.19; medium-happiness group; M = 9.53, SD = 4.11; low-happiness group: M = 8.16, SD = 3.21). To examine the relationship between the degree of subjective happiness and the ratio of emotions, the mean percentages of positive emotions, negative emotions, and neutral emotions for each group are shown in Table 1. The high-happiness group had the highest ratio of positive autobiographical memories, which was followed sequentially by the medium-happiness group and the low-happiness group. In contrast, the low-happiness group had the highest percentage of negative autobiographical memories among the three groups. The percentages of each happiness group were obtained by a one-way analysis of variance for each emotional event. For the content of positive emotion, the results revealed significant main effects of group (F(2, 183) = 11.22, p = .001). Further post hoc analysis of the simple effect showed significant differences between the high-happiness group and the medium-happiness group (p = .026), the medium-happiness group and the low-happiness group (p = .003), and the high-happiness group and the low-happiness group (p = .001). These results confirm the hypothesis that the ratio of positive emotions would increase with an increase in the level of subjective happiness. Table 1. Mean percentages of emotions for each happiness group. Contents of event High-happiness group Medium-happiness group Low-happiness group Mean (%) (SD) Mean (%) (SD) Mean (%) (SD) Positive emotion 74.4 (14.18) 66.1 (18.99) 53.1 (17.58) Negative emotion 20.9 (13.99) 26.1 (17.14) 36.3 (18.87) Neutral 4.7 (6.67) 7.8 (11.53) 10.6 (10.66) Total 100 100 100 Table options Similarly, the ratio of negative emotions decreased in conjunction with the subjective happiness levels. The results revealed significant main effects of group classification (F(2, 183) = 6.59, p = .002) on negative emotion. Further post hoc analysis of the simple effect revealed that there were significant differences between the medium-happiness and the low-happiness groups (p = .017), and between the high-happiness group and the low-happiness group (p = .001). However, there was no difference between the high-happiness group and the medium-happiness group. 3.3. Intensity of emotion The mean scores of the intensity of emotion (positive versus negative) were analyzed as a within-subjects design using a two-way repeated measures analysis of variance. The mean scores of the emotional intensity for each group are shown in Table 2. The between-subjects variable constituted a group (high-, medium-, or low-happiness group). For the responses of intensity, the results revealed only significant main effects of emotion (F(1, 183) = 7.63, p = .006). There were no significant main effects of group and interaction. These results did not support the hypothesis that the intensity of positive emotion would increase as the level of subjective happiness increased. Table 2. Mean scores of emotional intensity for each happiness group. Contents of event High-happiness group Medium-happiness group Low-happiness group Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Positive emotion 2.44 (0.36) 2.37 (0.39) 2.24 (0.49) Negative emotion 2.52 (0.93) 2.63 (0.74) 2.51 (0.68) Table options 3.4. Transmission of recollected events To investigate the hypothesis that the percentage of talking and sharing with others about self-experienced events would increase as subjective happiness increased, the participants were asked whether they talked about the event with someone; as stated earlier, there were three response choices. The mean percentages of each choice for each group are shown in Table 3. For the response “I told someone about the event,” there were only significant main effects of group (F(2, 183) = 4.52, p = .012). The results revealed main effects of emotion (F(1, 183) = 3.23, p = .074). Further post hoc analysis of the simple effect revealed that there were significant differences between the low-happiness and the medium-happiness groups (p = .010), and between the low-happiness and the high-happiness groups (p = .043). Table 3. Mean percentages of positive and negative events for each happiness group. Transmission of recollected events High-happiness group Medium-happiness group Low-happiness group Mean (%) (SD) Mean (%) (SD) Mean (%) (SD) Told to somebody Positive event 78.6 (23.53) 82.8 (22.67) 67.9 (32.43) Negative event 78.1 (32.84) 76.0 (34.26) 57.9 (38.67) Wrote in my diaries Positive event 4.8 (11.55) 3.4 (12.99) 6.1 (13.52) Negative event 6.7 (14.38) 5.9 (17.90) 14.1 (25.55) Told nobody Positive event 16.6 (23.13) 13.8 (20.19) 26.0 (30.98) Negative event 15.2 (28.90) 18.1 (29.75) 28.0 (38.34) Table options Similarly, for the response, “I told no one, but I wrote about it in my diary,” the results revealed main effects of emotion (F(1, 183) = 3.78, p = .054) and group (F(2, 183) = 2.73, p = .069. Further post hoc analysis of the simple effect revealed that there were no significant differences between the low-happiness and the medium-happiness groups (p = .083), and between the low-happiness and the high-happiness groups (p = .080). Finally, for the response, “I told no one,” there were also no significant differences in main effects and interaction.