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Asymmetric memory recall of positive and negative events in social interactions

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  • King Li

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Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that negative emotion can enhance memory accuracy. However, they were not conducted in the context of social interactions using the methodology of experimental economics. Based on the present study, we find that in such a context, individuals’ memory recall accuracy depends on the kindness of acts and who performed them, and negative emotion may lower memory accuracy. A victim of an unkind act is more likely to forget than someone who benefited from a kind act. This result supports the hypothesis that individuals may strategically manipulate their memory by forgetting an unpleasant experience. We also find that individuals who committed an unkind act tend to perceive it as less unkind as time moves on. They also tend to believe that a higher percentage of players have also committed the unkind act. Overall, the results support the hypothesis that individuals strategically manipulate their memory and beliefs to maintain self-esteem or feel less guilty. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013

Suggested Citation

  • King Li, 2013. "Asymmetric memory recall of positive and negative events in social interactions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 248-262, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:3:p:248-262
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-012-9325-9
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-012-9325-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    4. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chalotte Saucet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Self Confidence Spillovers and Motivated Beliefs," Working Papers 1804, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    2. Charlotte Saucet & Marie Villeval, 2018. "Motivated Memory in Dictator Games," Working Papers halshs-01781335, HAL.
    3. Stefania Sitzia & Jiwei Zheng & Daniel Zizzo, 2015. "Inattentive consumers in markets for services," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(2), pages 307-332, September.

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