Previous research has suggested that we tend to exhibit selective forgetting for information which is self threatening - an effect known as mnemic neglect. Three experiments are reported which examine mnemic neglect in repressors, low anxiety, high anxiety and defensive high anxious participants. In Experiment 1, repressors were found to forget more self threatening information than low anxious participants while high anxious and defensive high anxious remembered more. In Experiments 2 and 3 boundary conditions to the mnemic neglect effects were found to be present with repressors forgetting more self threatening information than low anxious participants for information that was unmodifiable (Experiment 2) and when this information was highly diagnostic (Experiment 3). High anxious and defensive high anxious participants, conversely, recalled more of this information. The findings indicate that repressors show enhanced mnemic neglect effects while high anxious and defensive high anxious participants show reversed effects.
- mnemic neglect
- self threatening memories