Subjective impact, meaning making, and current and recalled emotions for self-defining memories.J Pers. 2006 Jun; 74(3):811-45.JP
Two studies examined the impact of self-defining events on individuals (i.e., subjective impact), meaning making with regard to these events, and how subjective impact may account for the pattern of current and recalled emotions for these self-defining memories (Singer & Moffitt, 1991-1992). In Study 1, participants recalled self-defining memories, indicating how much impact the recalled events have had on them and described meaning making for these events. Subjective impact was shown to be a good marker for meaning making. Participants in Study 2 each recalled five self-defining memories, reporting their current emotions about the events, the emotions they recalled feeling at the time, and the impact the events have had on them. As expected, for negative memories, people reported less negative emotion (e.g., sadness) and more positive emotion (e.g., pride) compared to how they recalled feeling at the time. For positive memories, people reported equally intense positive emotion (e.g., love) and less negative emotion (e.g., fear) compared to how they recalled feeling at the time. These patterns of current and recalled emotions were accounted for by impact ratings.