Title

Memories of past episodes shape current intentions and decisions

Abstract

Abstract

This research tested the hypothesis that people's decisions and future plans are influenced by recently activated autobiographical memories. University students rated the overall quality of their college experiences. They were also asked to describe a specific memory of being either satisfied or dissatisfied with the university. Control participants did not describe a memory. After statistically controlling for pre-existing attitudes towards the university, students who recounted a positive memory expressed the strongest intentions to donate money to the university, attend a class reunion, and recommend the university to others, and they were more likely than controls to specify that an actual donation be made to the university rather than to another charity. Emotional intensity of positive memories predicted future plans and donation decisions. Students who recounted a negative memory also tended to favour the university in their actual donation decisions compared to controls. Prompting the recall of emotional memories may be an effective way to influence intentions and decisions.

Publication Date

5-2010

Journal Title

Memory

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/09658211003670857

Document Type

Article

Rights

© 2010 Psychology Press.