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Article Title

Event Valence Matters

Abstract

Previous research has revealed that people feel past target events are more distant when they recall more intervening events, event markers, that are both accessible in memory and perceived to be related to that target event (Zauberman, Levav, Diehl, and Bhargave 2010). This phenomenon was called the systematic effect of event markers (SEEM). In this research, we explore the moderating effect of the valence of the target event on SEEM and suggest the difficulty of recalling event markers as the possible mechanism. Study 1 shows that SEEM mainly occur when the valence of the target event is negative rather than positive. Study 2 showed that even though people have more difficulty recalling four event markers than one regardless of event valence, the difficulty of recalling event markers only mediates SEEM when the target event valence is negative. Furthermore, when the target event is positive, SEEM does not exist, confirming that the mediating role of the difficulty of recalling event markers on SEEM is moderated by the valence of the target event.

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