Happier Memories by Reaching for the Sky

NIJMEGEN, Netherlands, April 9 (UPI) — Dutch researchers advise remembering a good time by looking at the sky.

Daniel Casasanto and Katinka Dijkstra of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, linked emotion and how humans experience vertical space to how humans think of memories.


In the study, published in the journal Cognition, students were asked to move glass marbles upward or downward into cardboard boxes with both hands simultaneously in time to a metronome, while recounting autobiographical memories that were either positive or negative — “Tell me about a time when you felt proud of yourself,” or “Tell me about a time when you felt ashamed of yourself.”

Study participants recounted positive memories faster during upward movements, but told negative memories faster during downward movements.

“These data suggest that spatial metaphors for emotion aren’t just in language,” Casasanto said in a statement. “Linguistic metaphors correspond to mental metaphors, and activating the mental metaphor ‘good is up’ can cause us to think happier thoughts.”

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