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Title: Let’s Start with Forever: Counterintuitive effects of writing and reading own and others’ memories
Authors: Sekhsaria, Shriya
Advisors: Pronin, Emily
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2018
Abstract: This thesis aims to investigate the effects of creating and reading memory jars – virtual or physical jars filled with memories, moments, and experiences in a person’s life – on affect, loneliness, and psychological well being. While previous research ties reminiscence to a variety of benefits such as increased happiness and social connection, research about narrative reminiscence and reminiscence using non-autobiographical memories, particularly those belonging to unknown others, remains limited. Study 1 shows that creating jars for the self and then reading either one’s own or an unknown classmate’s memory jar a month later makes Princeton University seniors feel happier. Study 2 replicates Study 1 with senior citizens in assisted living and shows that creating jars for oneself and then reading either one’s own or an unknown resident’s memory jar a week later makes residents feel happier, less lonely, more in control of their environment, and as though their lives are more meaningful with more positive relations. Implications for using unknown others’ memories and stories as a tool for reminiscence, including strategies for a business focused on memory jars, are discussed.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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