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Publications [#362530] of Rachel A. Adcock

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Journal Articles

  1. Chiew, KS; Harris, BB; Adcock, RA (2022). Remembering Election Night 2016: Subjective but not objective metrics of autobiographical memory vary with political affiliation, affective valence, and surprise.. J Exp Psychol Gen, 151(2), 390-409. [doi]
    (last updated on 2023/11/30)

    Flashbulb memories represent a unique phenomenon linking research on cognition with research on emotion, yet most studies on this phenomenon have characterized collective events that are negative and unexpected in nature. In contrast, the 2016 American election of Donald Trump was a public, culturally shared event, eliciting extreme emotional responses that were positive for some individuals but negative for others, as well as varying levels of surprise. We longitudinally evaluated autobiographical memories for Election Night 2016 in a large online sample of Clinton supporters, Trump supporters, and third-party/nonvoters over a 12-month period, in terms of both objective memory metrics (information quantity and memory consistency) and subjective memory metrics (including memory confidence, metacognition, and sensory experience). Emotional responses to the election outcome varied widely, with Clinton supporters reporting highly negative responses, Trump supporters reporting highly positive responses, and third-party/nonvoters reporting mildly negative responses. Emotional intensity was enhanced in surprised versus nonsurprised individuals. Relative to third-party/nonvoters, Clinton and Trump supporters reported greater memory vividness, event importance, and sensory experience. Additionally, limited valence effects on subjective memory were observed (including higher memory confidence in Trump supporters and higher memory rehearsal in Clinton supporters). These differences in subjective experience were observed despite similar levels of information quantity and consistency as a function of valence. This characterization of memories for surprising positive events suggests they share many of the paradoxical qualities of memories for negative events often discussed as "flashbulb memories" but also points to potential differences in memory phenomenology for personal versus collectively experienced events. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

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