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Involuntary autobiographical memories (IAMs) are typically discussed in the context of negative memories such as trauma 'flashbacks'. However, IAMs occur frequently in everyday life and are predominantly positive. In spite of this, surprisingly little is known about how such positive IAMs arise. The trauma film paradigm is often used to generate negative IAMs. Recently an equivalent positive film was developed inducing positive IAMs (Davies, Malik, Pictet, Blackwell, & Holmes, 2012). The current study is the first to investigate which variables (emotional reaction to the film; recognition memory of the film; participant characteristics) would best predict the frequency of positive IAMs. Higher levels of positive mood change to the film were significantly associated with the number of positive IAMs recorded in the subsequent week. Results demonstrate the importance of positive emotional reaction at the time of an event for subsequent positive IAMs.

Original publication




Journal article


Conscious Cogn

Publication Date





402 - 406


Adolescent, Adult, Cues, Emotions, Female, Humans, Imagination, Male, Memory, Memory, Episodic, Recognition (Psychology), Young Adult