Quick Facts: A Digest of Recent Findings in Psychology
Compiled and Edited by Geraldine Merola Barton, Ph.D.
Suppressing Emotion May Hurt Your Memory When we hide our feelings during emotional stress, we may be interfering with our short-term memory, according to researchers Jane M. Richards and James J. Gross. In their study, females viewed slides of men with mild to disturbingly severe physical injuries. Half of the women were asked to ''behave in such a way that a person watching you would not know you are feeling anything at all.''Participants were then given a memory-recall test on information presented while viewing the slides. The result:The women who suppressed their emotion showed poorer recall than those who were allowed to exhibit their emotional reactions. The researchers speculate that hiding emotion triggers an “attentional shift'' in the brain, thus directing neurological resources away from memory-processing. SOURCE:Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1999; 25:1033-1044.