Science 17 January 2014:
Vol. 343 no. 6168 pp. 230-230
Editors' Choice


Gilbert Chin | 1 Comments

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It has been reported that an experience that simply affirms a valued aspect of the self can eliminate dissonance and its accompanying cognitive changes and that salient, self-affirming cognitions may help objectify reactions to self-threatening information.Some studies have found it relevant in depressive psychosis characterised by negative self image and emotionality.Depression impairs the ability to retrieve positive, self-affirming autobiographical memories. To counteract this difficulty, individuals with depression,can be trained, either in episode or remission, to construct an accessible mental repository for a preselected set of positive, self-affirming memories using an ancient mnemonic technique—the method-of-loci (MoL),which could possibly be used as a tool to facilitate access to self-affirming memories in those with depression.The effects are hence more pronounced in such depressive cases ,as could be normally expected based on logical presumptions too.The present study too underlines this fact as a highlight of its outcome,without any surprise in the findings,as corroborated,as above by earlier observations in this regard.Subjects with a strong economic and political value orientation, showed that the self-affirmation effect was strong enough to prevent the reinstatement of dissonance.Results also tend to imply that a need for psychological consistency is not part of dissonance motivation. Furthermore, as one would predict, the performance-enhancing effect of self-affirmation was not observed when wealthy people were tested,as in this study. It is found that training protocol where they chunked the memories into meaningful sets and rehearsed them are very effective in recollection tests though in surprise follow up recall tests,the ancient mnemonic test scored better,after further time elapse,indicating more efficient training protocols relevant to salient self affirmation for sustained positive outcomes.This is important in a background of people`s response to new information for sustainable positve behaviour ,particularly related to risk avoidance where Self-affirmation is the process of reflecting on values that a person considers important. This process may encourage people to be more open to information about such risks. It may also encourage them to change their behaviors or lifestyle to decrease these risks. Researchers want to look at the effect of self-affirmation on people s responses to new risk information in prone situations.

Submitted on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 04:11