Monday, April 12, 2010

Memories keep us happy?

Have you ever thought back on your personal history and couldn't for the life of you understand why a certain rough patch in your life was bad? This is the subject of the article I chose for this week. According to researchers, we have a bias when it comes to recreating our own autobiographical stories and tend to only recollect happy experiences and thoughts. I know this is true in my case.

Not like anyone is complaining that humans tend to have a positive look on their lives, but scientists and psychologists alike are trying to figure out the reasons behind this strange pattern. Apparently, the explanation isn't all that complicated; because we search out to do positive things with our lives, we work hardest to get those things. They stick in our memories because of the effort put forth and the feeling of achievement from accomplishing them. In turn, we also try to avoid negative experiences, therefore not sticking in our brain.

To sum it up, the authors say the bias "suggests that autobiographical memory represents an important exception to the theoretical claim that bad is stronger than good and allows people to cope with tragedies, celebrate joyful moments, and look forward to tomorrow."

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