A pancultural perspective on the fading affect bias in autobiographical memory

Timothy D. Ritchie, Tamzin J. Batteson, Annette Bohn, Matthew T. Crawford, Georgie V. Ferguson, Robert W. Schrauf, Rodney J. Vogl, W. Richard Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The fading affect bias (FAB) refers to the negative affect associated with autobiographical events fading faster than the positive affect associated with such events, a reliable and valid valence effect established by researchers in the USA. The present study examined the idea that the FAB is a ubiquitous emotion regulating phenomenon in autobiographical memory that is present in people from a variety of cultures. We tested for evidence of the FAB by sampling more than 2400 autobiographical event descriptions from 562 participants in 10 cultures around the world. Using variations on a common method, each sample evidenced a FAB: positive affect faded slower than negative affect did. Results suggest that in tandem with local norms and customs, the FAB may foster recovery from negative life events and promote the retention of the positive emotions, within and outside of the USA. We discuss these findings in the context of Keltner and Haidt's levels of analysis theory of emotion and culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-290
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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