Attitudes toward the war in Iraq: Memory bias due to affect
Barrett, Lisa Feldman
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We studied the influence of emotion on people's recollection of their attitudes toward the war in Iraq. Participants were 395 North American individuals who completed a longitudinal web-based study. We examined how emotional reactions and attitudes at the beginning of the Iraqi war (T1) influenced people’s recollections of those attitudes at the war’s conclusion, defined by the official withdrawal of U.S. troops from combat (T2). We predicted and found that emotional reactions to the war at T1 highly correlate with attitudes at T1, and in some cases influenced the recall of those initial attitudes at T2 (e.g. the more angry participants were about the war at its start, the more they remembered holding President Bush responsible for it when it ended, over and above what their attitude actually was at T1). Implications for understanding the effect of emotion on autobiographical memory are considered, and future directions are discussed.
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