Social Anxiety and Biased Recall of Positive Information: It's Not the Content, It's the Valence

  • Glazier B
  • Alden L
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Abstract

Cognitive theorists hypothesize that individuals with social anxiety are prone to memory biases such that event recall becomes more negative over time. With few exceptions, studies have focused primarily on changes in negative self-judgments. The current study examined whether memory for positive social events is also subject to recall bias. Undergraduate participants (N = 138) engaged in an unexpected public speaking task and received standardized positive or neutral feedback on their performance. They rated their memory of the received feedback following a 5-minute delay and again 1 week later. Results revealed that higher scores on social anxiety symptoms predicted significant reductions in the recalled valence of positive feedback over time, whereas no changes were observed for neutral feedback. The results suggest that social anxiety may lead to erosion in memory of positive events.

Author-supplied keywords

  • memory bias
  • social anxiety
  • social task

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Authors

  • Brianne L. Glazier

  • Lynn E. Alden

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