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Already Filtered: Affective Immersion and Personality Differences in Accessing Present and Past

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Schemas contribute to adaptation, filtering novelty though knowledge-expectancy structures, the residue of past contingencies and their consequences. Adaptation requires a balance between flexible, dynamic context-sensitivity and the cognitive efficiency that schemas afford in promoting persistent goal pursuit despite distraction. Affects can form and disrupt schemas. Transient affective experiences systematically alter selectivity of attentiveness to the directly experienced present environment, the internal environment, and to the stored experiences of memory. Enduring personal stylistic predispositions, like implicit motives and affective schemas, influence how experience is perceived, responded to, and integrated; they shape memory and influence present experiential patterns, individually and intersubjectively. Such systematic influences are potential sources of error in the study of memory if not mapped; so far, individual personality differences have just been a source of complication in the literature on emotion-congruent perception and memory. I synthesize what findings there are about how personality differences, emotions, and affects contribute to the structuring and integration of perceptions and memories both directly and by way of hot, affectively-anchored schemas. Case studies from experimental and personality psychology highlight a conception of personality and affective experience relevant to memory research and cognitive science.
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Keywords: Affective Immersion; Affects; Autobiographical Memory; Emotion; Emotion-Congruent Memory; Personality; Schemas

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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