People with a repressive coping style have been found to have difficulty remembering unpleasant autobiographical events, but past research has almost exclusively utilized a procedure developed by in which participants are presented with words representing different emotions and are asked to list autobiographical memories associated with each word. Repressors may simply be less able than other people to utilize emotion labels as retrieval cues. However, two studies replicated and extended past findings by showing that even when participants are provided with rich descriptive cues in the form of general descriptions of unpleasant events, repressors still report fewer such experiences. Because repressors did not recall fewer concrete and unambiguous negative events than other participants in study 2, the results are also consistent with the hypothesis that biased encoding mechanisms can explain why fewer negative events are available for recall by repressors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas