- Motivated memory: memory for attitude-relevant information as a function of self-esteem
- Social Cognition
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
In this article we offer a new perspective on the contradictory findings in the literature on memory for attitude-relevant information. We propose that biases in memory are most likely to occur when the attitude involved is connected to personally important values and the self; i.e., if the attitude serves a value-expressive function. Moreover, we argue that the nature of these biases depends on participants' self-esteem because self-esteem is related to the perceived individual ability to effectively refute counter-attitudinal information. Three studies show that, for value-expressive attitudes, people with low self-esteem remember more pro-attitudinal information while their high self-esteem counterparts remember more counter-attitudinal information. We argue that this is the result of high self-esteem participants employing active-defensive and low self-esteem participants using passive-defensive strategies. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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