Do men remember the bad? Do women focus on the good?
A woman’s memory of an experience is less likely to be accurate than a man’s if it was unpleasant and emotionally provocative, according to research undertaken by University of Montreal researchers at Louis-H Lafontaine Hospital. “Very few studies have looked at how ‘valence’ and ‘arousal’ affect memories independently of each other, that is to say, how attractive or repulsive we find an experience and how emotionally provocative it is,” said corresponding author Dr. Marc Lavoie, of the university’s Department of Psychiatry and the hospital’s Fernand-Seguin Research Center. “Our test relied on photos – we found firstly that highly arousing pictures blur women’s capacity to determine whether they’ve seen it before, and secondly that women have a clearer memory of attractive experiences than men. Arousal has an enhancing effect on the memory of men however, as does ‘low valence’ or unpleasantness.“
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