When remembering past choices, people tend to attribute positive features to chosen options and negative features to rejected options. The present experiments reveal the important role beliefs play in memory reconstruction of choices. In Experiment 1, participants who misremembered which option they chose favored their believed choice in their memory attributions more than their actual choice. In Experiment 2, we manipulated participants’ beliefs by either “reminding” participants they chose an option they actually rejected or providing a correct reminder. Participants’ memory attributions favored the option they believed they chose, both when that belief was correct and when it was erroneous. Furthermore, features attributed in a fashion favoring believed choices were more vividly remembered than features attributed in a non-choice-supportive fashion. Thus, beliefs at the time of retrieval about a choice lead to memory biases about both the valence and the vividness of remembered choice option features.
Journal of Memory and Language
Henkel, Linda A. and Mather, M., "Memory attributions for choices: How beliefs shape our memories" (2007). Psychology Faculty Publications. 8.
Henkel, L. A., & Mather, M. (2007). Memory attributions for choices: How beliefs shape our memories. Journal of Memory and Language, 57.2, 163-176.