A new study conducted at the University of British Columbia suggests that the positive aspects of memories tend to fade more quickly in individuals with Social Anxiety disorder, suggesting memory processes may be an important driver of the mental disease, according to PsyPost.
“The most important thing to take away from this study is that for those with high levels of social anxiety, the positivity in their memories tends to erode over time, making it harder for them to remember positive experiences and perpetuating their fear of social situations.
“For those who do have high social anxiety, they should make an effort to focus on and remember the positive aspects of their social experiences,” said Brianne L. Glazier co-author of the study, entitled “Social anxiety disorder and memory for positive feedback.“
The study involved 59 individuals with social anxiety and 63 people without the disorder. Participants were asked to give a 3-minute speech, which was then rated randomly by reviewers as largely positive or largely neutral. The subjects were then asked to asses their own performance on the 14 factors used by the reviewers.
One week later, participants were asked to summarize the original feedback.
While both groups remembered fewer items than they had a week before, the socially anxious participants tended to recall positive feedback as less positive than it had actually been.