Memories of past episodes shape current intentions and decisions.

Academic Article


  • This research tested the hypothesis that people's decisions and future plans are influenced by recently activated autobiographical memories. University students rated the overall quality of their college experiences. They were also asked to describe a specific memory of being either satisfied or dissatisfied with the university. Control participants did not describe a memory. After statistically controlling for pre-existing attitudes towards the university, students who recounted a positive memory expressed the strongest intentions to donate money to the university, attend a class reunion, and recommend the university to others, and they were more likely than controls to specify that an actual donation be made to the university rather than to another charity. Emotional intensity of positive memories predicted future plans and donation decisions. Students who recounted a negative memory also tended to favour the university in their actual donation decisions compared to controls. Prompting the recall of emotional memories may be an effective way to influence intentions and decisions.
  • Authors

  • Kuwabara, Kie J
  • Pillemer, David
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2010
  • Published In

  • Memory  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Decision Making
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Gift Giving
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Motivation
  • Students
  • Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20383803
  • Start Page

  • 365
  • End Page

  • 374
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 4