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Research has suggested that memories of mood, emotions, and behaviors are not purely unbiased retrieval, but more similar to reconstructions based on current opinions, positive or negative experiences associated with the memory, and how a person believes they would have felt, thought, or acted. We investigated this memory bias in 66 adult participants with overweight/obesity who rated their mood, emotions, and behaviors during a 12-week, Internet-based behavioral weight loss program and later recalled these ratings at Month 3 (immediate post-test) and Month 12 (follow-up). At Month 3, participants recalled the intervention more positively than reported previously, p = .010, but reported remembering the intervention more negatively at the Month 12 follow-up, p = .004. Memory bias was associated with initial weight loss and regain, ps < .05, such that participants who lost more weight at Month 3 remembered their mood, emotions, and behaviors during intervention more positively, and those who regained more weight at Month 12, more negatively. Future research should investigate whether this bias is associated with willingness to re-engage with intervention.
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- “Memory bias” for recall of experiences during initial weight loss is affected by subsequent weight loss outcome
Kathryn M. Ross
Rena R. Wing
- Springer US