In the present study we examined how agentic and communal social roles and personality motives were related to the quality (including emotions and agentic and communal themes) and cognitive structure (differentiation and integration) of women's autobiographical memories. One hundred twenty-seven college-aged women were asked to describe a personal memory after being randomly assigned to either agentic or communal task conditions. In the agentic task condition, participants completed a creative building task alone, and in the communal task condition, participants completed the same task with a confederate. Personality motives were measured by both explicit (self-report) and implicit (TAT stories) measures. Following the task, participants wrote about an autobiographical experience in which they were in either agentic or communal social roles. Linear multiple regression analyses indicated that participating in an agentic task, as compared to a communal task, was related to the inclusion of fewer agentic themes as well as to a higher frequency of shame and anger words in autobiographical memories. Congruence between social roles and implicit personality motives (e.g., an agentic task assignment and high agentic motives) yielded less negatively laden autobiographical memories than incongruence between social roles and personality motives (e.g., an agentic task assignment and high communal motives). Furthermore, participants who scored high on both explicit agentic and communal motives included more positive emotion words in their memories than did other groups.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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