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Sports Fans Remember Victories Better Than Defeats: Study

Years later, devotees of Red Sox, Yankees recalled triumphs, not losses

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- You're more likely to remember the games that your favorite teams win rather than the ones they lose, a new study says.

It included almost 1,600 baseball fans who followed or attended the 2003 and 2004 American League Championship baseball games between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

When questioned years later, fans of both teams remembered more details about their teams' wins than their losses, including the location of the games, winning and losing pitchers, and whether the games went extra innings.

The study is published in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science.

"People seem to remember positive events, not necessarily because of the experience, but because it is rehearsed more -- we think about and share the experience instead of dwelling on the negative," Martin Safer, a psychologist at the Catholic University of America, said in a journal news release.

"What happens after the event, such as the social factors of telling friends about the game, or seeing reminders of your team's winning year on sports paraphernalia is important. These things serve as memory cues and prompt rehearsal of the positive event," explained fellow study author and psychologist Carolyn Breslin.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes how memory works.

SOURCE: Psychological Science, news release, Oct. 24, 2011
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