Advertisement

Gender Differences and Similarities in Autobiographical Memory for Eudaimonic Happy Events

  • Igor Sotgiu
Research Paper
  • 103 Downloads

Abstract

This study investigates the gender differences and similarities in autobiographical memory for eudaimonic happy events. One hundred and eighty-six adults were asked to write personal narratives of meaningful life experiences that enabled them to develop their best potentials. They also completed questionnaires assessing the memory features of reported experiences, the centrality of such experiences for the individual’s identity, and the participants’ well-being. The analysis of narratives revealed that, overall, male and female participants reported eudaimonic experiences which were quite similar in content. Multivariate analyses were also conducted to assess the impact of gender on narrative and questionnaire measures of memory characteristics. Results showed that gender did not have a significant effect on any of the assessed memory characteristics; that is, there were substantial similarities in how male and female participants narrated and assessed their recollections. Findings are interpreted taking into account the current psychology literature on gender differences and similarities.

Keywords

Autobiographical memory Eudaimonic well-being Event centrality Gender differences and similarities Happiness 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Author wish to thank Elisa Andreis, Enrico Briccoli, and Deborah Cotich for their precious help in collecting and entering data. This work was supported by the University of Bergamo under the Grant 60SOTG15.

Supplementary material

10902_2018_6_MOESM1_ESM.doc (66 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 66 kb)

References

  1. Banks, M. V., & Salmon, K. (2013). Reasoning about the self in positive and negative ways: Relationship to psychological functioning in young adulthood. Memory, 21, 10–26.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2012.707213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauer, J. J., McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2008). Narrative identity and eudaimonic well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 81–104.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9021-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berntsen, D. (2001). Involuntary memories of emotional events: Do memories of trauma and extremely happy events differ? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 135–138.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berntsen, D., & Rubin, D. C. (2002). Emotionally charged memories across the life span: The recall of happy, sad, traumatic, and involuntary memories. Psychology and Aging, 17, 636–652.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0882-7974.17.4.636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berntsen, D., & Rubin, D. C. (2006). The Centrality of Event Scale: A measure of integrating a trauma into one’s identity and its relation to post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 219–231.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.01.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berntsen, D., Rubin, D. C., & Siegler, I. C. (2011). Two versions of life: Emotionally negative and positive life events have different roles in the organization of life story and identity. Emotion, 11, 1190–1201.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boals, A. (2010). Events that have become central to identity: Gender differences in the centrality of events scale for positive and negative events. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 107–121.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Butler, L. D., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1994). Gender differences in responses to depressed mood in a college sample. Sex Roles, 30, 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chalabaev, A., Sarrazin, P., Fontayne, P., Boiché, J., & Clément-Guillotin, C. (2013). The influence of sex stereotypes and gender roles on participation and performance in sport and exercise: Review and future directions. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 136–144.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.10.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cowan, N., & Davidson, G. (1984). Salient childhood memories. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 145, 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, P. J. (1999). Gender differences in autobiographical memory for childhood emotional experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 498–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diamond, L. M. (2012). The desire disorder in research on sexual orientation in women: Contributions of dynamical systems theory. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 73–83.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-012-9909-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Ely, R., & Ryan, E. (2008). Remembering talk: Individual and gender differences in reported speech. Memory, 16, 395–409.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658210801949869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Erdoğan, A., Baran, B., Avlar, B., Cağlar Taş, A., & Tekcan, A. I. (2008). On the persistence of positive events in life scripts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 95–111.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. European Institute for Gender Equality. (2015). Gender equality index. Measuring gender equality in the European Union 20052012. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from  https://doi.org/10.2839/763764. http://eige.europa.eu/rdc/eige-publications/gender-equality-index-2015-measuring-gender-equality-european-union-2005-2012-report.
  17. Fivush, R., Habermas, T., Waters, T. E. A., & Zaman, W. (2011). The making of autobiographical memory: Intersections of culture, narratives and identity. International Journal of Psychology, 46, 321–345.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2011.596541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Galati, D., & Sotgiu, I. (2004). Happiness and positive emotions. Ricerche di Psicologia, Special Issue on Positive Psychology, 27, 41–62.Google Scholar
  19. Gentzler, A. L., Kerns, K. A., & Keener, E. (2010). Emotional reactions and regulatory response to negative and positive events: Associations with attachment and gender. Motivation and Emotion, 34, 78–92.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-009-9149-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grant, K. E., Lyons, A. L., Finkelstein, J. A. S., Conway, K. M., Reynolds, L. K., O’Koon, J. H., & Waitkoff, G. R. et al. (2004). Gender differences in rates of depressive symptoms among low-income, urban, African American youth: A test of two mediational hypotheses. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 523–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grysman, A., & Hudson, J. A. (2013). Gender differences in autobiographical memory: Developmental and methodological considerations. Developmental Review, 33, 239–272.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grysman, A., Merrill, N., & Fivush, R. (2017). Emotion, gender, and gender typical identity in autobiographical memory. Memory, 25, 289–297.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2016.1168847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huta, V., & Waterman, A. S. (2014). Eudaimonia and its distinction from hedonia: Developing a classification and terminology for understanding conceptual and operational definitions. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15, 1425–1456.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-013-9485-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 581–592.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.60.6.581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hyde, J. S. (2014). Gender similarities and differences. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 373–398.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D. A., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method. Science, 306, 1776–1780.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1103572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim, S., & Bryant, F. B. (2017). The influence of gender and cultural values on savoring in Korean undergraduates. International Journal of Wellbeing, 7, 43–63.  https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v7i2.598.Google Scholar
  28. Klausen, S. H. (2016). Happiness, dispositions, and the self. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 995–1013.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9628-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lauriola, M., Zelli, A., Calcaterra, C., Cherubini, D., & Spinelli, D. (2004). Sport gender stereotypes in Italy. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 35, 189–206.Google Scholar
  30. Lewis, G. J., Kanai, R., Rees, G., & Bates, T. C. (2014). Neural correlates of the ‘good life’: Eudaimonic well-being is associated with insular cortex volume. Social and Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, 9, 615–618.  https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nst032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maki, Y., Kawasaki, Y., Demiray, B., & Janssen, S. M. J. (2015). Autobiographical memory functions in young Japanese men and women. Memory, 23, 11–24.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.930153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McAdams, D. P. (2006). The redemptive self: Stories Americans live by. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McAdams, D. P., Hoffman, B. J., Mansfield, E. D., & Day, R. (1996). Themes of agency and communion in significant autobiographical scenes. Journal of Personality, 64, 339–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Merrill, N., Waters, T. E. A., & Fivush, R. (2016). Connecting the self to traumatic and positive events: Links to identity and well-being. Memory, 10, 1321–1328.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1104358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nelson, K., & Fivush, R. (2004). The emergence of autobiographical memory: A social cultural developmental theory. Psychological Review, 111, 486–511.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.111.2.486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Newby, J. M., & Moulds, M. L. (2011). Intrusive memories of negative events in depression: Is the centrality of the event important? Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 42, 277–283.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.12.011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Niedenthal, P. M., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2006). Psychology of emotion: Interpersonal, experiential, and cognitive approaches. New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  38. Niedźwieńska, A. (2003). Gender differences in vivid memories. Sex Roles, 49, 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Parker, L. E., & Larson, J. (1994). Ruminative coping with depressed mood following loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 92–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Peace, K. A., & Porter, S. (2004). A longitudinal investigation of the reliability of memories for trauma and other emotional experiences. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18, 1143–1159.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reese, E., Haden, C. A., Baker-Ward, L., Bauer, P., Fivush, R., & Ornstein, P. A. (2011). Coherence of personal narratives across the lifespan: A multidimensional model and coding method. Journal of Cognition and Development, 12, 424–462.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2011.587854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ros, L., & Latorre, J. M. (2010). Gender and age differences in the recall of affective autobiographical memories using the autobiographical memory test. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 950–954.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.08.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ros, L., Ricarte, J. J., Serrano, J. P., Nieto, M., Aguilar, M. J., & Latorre, J. M. (2014). Overgeneral autobiographical memories: Gender differences in depression. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28, 472–480.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ross, M., & Wang, Q. (2011). Why we remember and what we remember: Culture and autobiographical memory. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 401–409.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691610375555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rubin, D. C., & Berntsen, D. (2003). Life scripts help to maintain autobiographical memories of highly positive, but not highly negative, events. Memory and Cognition, 31, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rubin, D. C., Berntsen, D., & Hutson, M. (2009). The normative and the personal life: Individual differences in life scripts and life story events among USA and Danish undergraduates. Memory, 17, 54–68.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658210802541442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ryan, R. M., Huta, V., & Deci, E. L. (2008). Living well: A self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 139–170.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9023-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2008). Know thyself and become what you are: A eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 13–39.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Seidlitz, L., & Diener, E. (1998). Sex differences in the recall of affective experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 262–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Skowronski, J. J., & Thompson, C. P. (1990). Reconstructing the dates of personal events: Gender differences in accuracy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 4, 371–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sotgiu, I. (2013). Psicologia della felicità e dell’infelicità [Psychology of happiness and unhappiness]. Rome: Carocci.Google Scholar
  53. Sotgiu, I. (2016). How do we remember happy life events? A comparison between eudaimonic and hedonic autobiographical memories. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 150, 685–703.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980.2016.1162764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Suardi, A., Sotgiu, I., Costa, T., Cauda, F., & Rusconi, M. (2016). The neural correlates of happiness: A review of PET and fMRI studies using autobiographical recall methods. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 383–392.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-016-0414-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (2003). Factorial and construct validity of the Italian Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 19, 131–141.  https://doi.org/10.1027//1015-5759.19.2.131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thorne, A. (1995). Developmental truths in memories of childhood and adolescence. Journal of Personality, 63, 139–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tversky, A., & Griffin, D. (1991). Endowment and contrast in judgments of well-being. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being. An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 101–118). New York, NY: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  58. Wang, Q. (2009). Are Asian forgetful? Perception, retention, and recall in episodic remembering. Cognition, 111, 123–131.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.01.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Waterman, A. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 678–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., & Conti, R. (2008). The implications of two conceptions of happiness (hedonic enjoyment and eudaimonia) for the understanding of intrinsic motivation. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 41–79.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9020-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Ravert, R. D., Williams, M. K., Agocha, V. B., et al. (2010). The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 41–61.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760903435208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Waters, T. E., Bohanek, J. G., Marin, K., & Fivush, R. (2013). Null’s the word: A comparison of memory quality for intensely negative and positive events. Memory, 21, 633–645.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2012.745877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1994). The PANAS-X: Manual for the positive and negative affect schedule—Expanded form. Iowa City, IA: The University of Iowa.Google Scholar
  64. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly

Personalised recommendations