Zurbriggen, C. L. A., Jendryczko, D., & Nussbeck, F. W. (2021). Rosy or blue? Change in recall bias of students’ affective experiences during early adolescence. Emotion.
Changes in the quality of emotional experience are among the various significant developmental challenges that characterize early adolescence. Although retrospective and momentary emotional self-reports are known to differ, adolescents’ emotional experiences are mainly assessed retrospectively without knowing if the recall is biased in a positive or negative way. The present study extends research on recall bias by investigating possible changes in retrospection effects of students’ affective experiences during early adolescence. To this end, we compared retrospectively assessed affect with in situ reported affect. At the age of about 12 years (T1) and 3 years later (T2), 120 students repeatedly reported their momentary positive and negative affect during one school week and once in retrospective at the end of the school week. Furthermore, we examined whether students’ emotional attitudes toward school have an effect on retrospection effects of students’ affect and on change in retrospection effects from T1 to T2. To test our hypotheses, we applied multilevel first-order and second-order latent difference models. Results indicate a positive recall bias (i.e., rosy view) of students’ reports of their positive and negative affect in the classroom at T1 and a negative shift in recall bias by T2. Furthermore, findings supported that a rosy view is less likely to occur, if a student is less emotionally involved in school. In turn, positive emotional attitudes toward school appear to serve as a buffer for the tendency toward a negative recall bias (i.e., blue view) at the end of early adolescence.
affect, recall bias, early adolescence, emotional attitudes, latent difference model