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Alexandria Harper

2008 Research

Abstract: Gratitude and Positive Memory Bias

Joanna Johnson (co-author)

Mentor: Dr. Philip Watkins, Psychology

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between trait gratitude and positive autobiographical memory bias (AMB). Previous research has found that gratitude has a strong positive relationship with happiness, as those who are grateful tend to be happy. We hypothesized that individuals who are grateful will recall more positive memories than those who are less grateful. Participants completed a packet of questionnaires containing emotional well-being measures, and measures of trait gratitude (GRAT-R, GQ-6). To determine the type of memories recalled, participants were asked to list as many significant memories as possible from the past 3 weeks (recent), and from before those 3 weeks (remote). Participants then rated their memories for valence, and emotional impact of each memory. As predicted, grateful individuals recalled more positive memories. Grateful individuals rated their memories as having more of a positive emotional impact presently than in the past. The same trend was found with the emotional impact of remote positive memories. In this study we found that trait gratitude is correlated with happiness, and the recall and emotional impact of positive memories.


12th Annual EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium: May 20, 2009WPA Portland: April 22-26, 2009

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