Effects of positive personal and non-personal autobiographical stimuli on emotional regulation in older adults

L. M. Carretero, J. M. Latorre, D. Fernández, T. J. Barry, J. J. Ricarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


People can regulate negative emotional states using personal episodic information stored in memory. However, amongst older adults, assistance in retrieving personal memories might be needed. As such, positive personal images might better facilitate the retrieval of positive personal memories, relative to generic positive images. The present study induced older adults (N = 40; Mage = 76.28) into a negative mood state using a validated film clip (“Dead Man Walking”; Robbins et al. in Dead Man Walking [Cinta Cinematográfica]. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films, Estados Unidos, 1995). Participants were then shown positive personal images (album photos) or positive non-personal images from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) and between-group differences in their mood state and their ability to retrieve positive autobiographical memories were measured. Although participants’ moods decreased after the negative mood induction, their mood then recovered after picture cuing regardless of whether images were personal or non-personal. Furthermore, the positive mood evoked by non-personal, but not personal, images was significantly positively associated with self-reported feelings of reliving of the memories evoked by those images. These results suggest that, when pictures from personal life are not available, the selection of images able to generate positive autobiographical memories with a sense of reliving, is a feasible tool for older adult’s emotional regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness/European Regional Development Fund under TIN2013-47074-C2-1-R and DPI2016-80894-R grants.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


  • Autobiographical memory
  • Emotion regulation
  • Older adults
  • Positive image

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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