The effects of revisionism on remembered emotion: The valence of older, voluntary immigrants' pre-migration autobiographical memories

Robert W. Schrauf, Lesa Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Prior research on remembered emotion demonstrates effects of revisionism in memory. The positivity bias describes preferential recall for positive emotions and the fading affect bias describes greater fading of negative versus positive emotion over time. Such effects predict that older adults would remember childhood and youth more positively than later adulthood. However, economic immigrants, whose childhood and youth reflect experiences of poverty and unemployment, may not show the effects of such revisionism. This study examined the remembered emotion of immigrant and non-immigrant older Puerto Ricans whose early years corresponded to hard times on the island. Multilevel modelling showed that both groups exhibited the effects of the positivity and fading affect biases, but immigrants remembered childhood and youth more negatively than non-immigrants. This suggests both accurate memory for a more negative past as well the effects of additional revisionism whereby a valued and chosen present is preferentially compared to the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-913
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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