Society and lifestyle

Why do you need to speak out and not let your emotions “destroy” your memory?

Updated on March 02, 2021, Alain Souza
Why do you need to speak out and not let your emotions “destroy” your memory?

To not damage your memory, express your emotions, speak out!

Controlling your emotions could affect your memory. According to several studies, people who try to hide their feelings during a given event have fewer good memories. On the other hand, those who do not really have any feelings would have excellent memories.

In a first experiment, 53 people were gathered in front of a movie. It featured a couple in the middle of a household scene: the husband confesses to his wife that he has cheated on her and that his mistress is pregnant, all in front of their daughter. Beforehand, the psychologists had asked half of the group to hide any emotion aroused by the film. The other half had not received any instructions. Each person was then subjected to a questionnaire about the movie.

First observation: regardless of the conditions, the spectators remembered the sound details better than the visual ones.

Second observation: those who had tried to control their emotions had memorized the movie much less. The initial hypothesis therefore seemed to be confirmed: the brain cannot do everything at the same time!

No change of expression. Psychologists then sought to clarify this relationship between emotions and memory. To do this, they carried out a second experiment using slides. They projected photographs of injured people to 83 guinea pigs. In some cases, the wounds were old and not visible, in others they were recent. This time the psychologists formed three groups. The first was instructed to hide their emotions, in particular by avoiding facial movements. The second group was instructed to look at the footage from a neutral point of view, in the most detached way possible. The third group had no instructions and served as a witness. Scientists thus sought to know the influence on memory according to the concealment strategies implemented: in the first group, emotions exist, but their expression is repressed. In the second case, the onset of emotions itself is suppressed. The three groups were then subjected to a questionnaire on the slide show.

I hear voices. The results allow us to specify the mechanisms linking memory and emotion. Those who tried to hide the expression of their feelings did not retain the content of the slides well. Strangely enough, those who adopted a neutral attitude had no memory problems. On the contrary, they even retained rather better than the others. According to psychologists, memory problems can be explained by hearing voices: it is the action of talking to yourself that alters memories! Because, according to scientists, people who had been told not to let their feelings show on their faces were constantly on the alert. Still wondering if their emotions were visible “did I move an eyebrow?” “did anyone notice my jump?” Their attention to the film was much lower.

Do not miss the big stages. This study may provide some tips for improving memory. First, don't try to hide your emotions! If you don't express your feelings, it may hurt your memories. Try to invest yourself emotionally in whatever you want to remember. Otherwise, take the opposite attitude and stay cool and detached. It's scientific: if you remain unmoved during your wedding or your birthday, your memory will only be better...

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