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Memory of the UK’s 2016 EU Referendum: the effects of valence on the long-term measures of a public event

Raw, J., Rorke, A., Ellis, J., Murayama, K. and Sakaki, M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1993-5765 (2021) Memory of the UK’s 2016 EU Referendum: the effects of valence on the long-term measures of a public event. Emotion. ISSN 1931-1516

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/emo0000788

Abstract/Summary

Emotional public events, relative to non-emotional ones, are typically remembered more accurately, more vividly and with more confidence. However, the majority of previous studies investigating this have focused on negative public events and less is known about positive ones. The current study examined whether positive and negative public events were remembered in a similar manner by assessing individuals’ memory for the time when they learned the results of the UK’s 2016 Referendum on its European Union (EU) membership. Participants included UK participants who voted to ‘leave’ the EU in the referendum and found the event highly positive, UK participants who voted to ‘remain’ in the EU and found the event highly negative, and US participants who did not vote and found the event neutral. Data from a total of 851 participants were assessed at four time points over the course of 16 months. Growth curve modelling showed that differences in memory between participants in the Remain group (who reported the highest levels of negative emotion) and those in the Leave group (who reported the highest levels of positive emotion) emerged over time. Specifically, Remain participants maintained higher levels of memory consistency than Leave participants, while Leave participants maintained higher levels of memory confidence than Remain participants. These results indicate that positive and negative public events are remembered differently, such that negative valence enhances memory accuracy, while positive valence results in overconfidence.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:98838
Publisher:American Psychological Association

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