On Lions and Adolescents: Affective Temperaments and the Influence of Negative Stimuli on Memory

Abstract

The present study investigated the relation between reaction to negative stimuli and memory for stimuli. The relation was further investigated using as a framework individuals’ affective temperaments (AFTs). Eighty adolescents participated in the study. The AFTs are based on selfreported affect and categorizes individuals in four temperaments: self-actualizing, high affective, low affective and self-destructive. Reaction to negative stimuli was measured by interpretation of specific words in a short story. Two days later, participants were presented with a list of words and asked which of them were present in the short story. Individuals’ AFTs were expected to predict the promotion of pleasure or the prevention of displeasure. On a general level, reaction to negative stimuli predicted memory for negative, positive and neutral words. At an individual level, self-actualizers and high affectives’ negative reaction predicted the memory of positive words (i.e., promotion). In contrast, low affectives’ negative and positive reaction predicted the memory of neutral words (i.e., prevention).

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the participants for their help facilitating the study. Appreciation is also directed to reviewers who helped improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Danilo Garcia.

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Garcia, D., Rosenberg, P., Erlandsson, A. et al. On Lions and Adolescents: Affective Temperaments and the Influence of Negative Stimuli on Memory. J Happiness Stud 11, 477–495 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-009-9153-6

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Keywords

  • Affective temperament
  • Attention memory
  • Negativity bias
  • Positivity bias
  • Prevention focus
  • Promotion focus