Does Gratitude Enhance Experience of the Past?

  • Philip C. Watkins


In this chapter I explore the question: Does gratitude promote well-being by enhancing the recollection of positive memories? I theorize that gratitude amplifies the good in one’s past. I first review why the recollection of positive memories is likely to be important to happiness. Then I turn to the issue of how gratitude impacts how one reflects on the past. Gratitude may promote the accessibility of positive memories through biased encoding of positive events and enhanced depth of encoding of positive events through increased elaboration and enjoyment of positive events. Moreover, because grateful individuals should be more likely to reflect on the good from their past, this should further strengthen the memory representations of positive events. Furthermore, I argue that gratitude may promote the enjoyment of positive recollections. I then argue that gratitude and the recollection of positive events may be related in a reciprocal fashion, thus resulting in an upward spiral.


Autobiographical Memory Retrieval Practice Memory Bias Happy People Positive Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip C. Watkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA

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