The sharing of autobiographical memories elicits social support.

Tom J. Barry, Yannick Boddez, Christine H. M. Chiu, Filip Raes

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Abstract

We examine whether and how the autobiographical memories that we share can influence the social support that people offer us. Study 1 examined whether sharing specific (e.g., I was upset when reading my expartner’s email last Friday) versus nonspecific (e.g., I was upset) memories influences support giving. Studies 2 and 3 additionally examined the effects of episodic detail (i.e., who, what, where) and specificity on support. Participants offered more support to (hypothetical) profiles that shared specific, compared to nonspecific, memories, but these effects were less consistent than those for memory detail. Participants offered more support to profiles that shared memories that were high, compared to low, in detail. Findings were more consistent for the effects of memory detail on emotional support than instrumental support. These findings support the social function of autobiographical memory and suggest one pathway through which autobiographical memory may influence the help we receive.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Early online date25 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Emotional support
  • Episodic memory
  • Instrumental support
  • Overgeneral memory
  • Specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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