Research Paper on Human Memory and Resilience

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1695 Words
Date:  2022-05-16


The human memory is a captivating tool which is quite intricate, and although we understand a lot about it, there is still much that we are not aware of since the mind is implausible when it comes to self-protection. Within the unconscious mind, we acquire a lot from learning to stressful situations and data is kept and processed and if the problems at hand got resolved, they tend to affect us in our current and future lives, thus, the skill of resilience needs to be enforced among individuals. Therefore, this research will be aimed at exploring the relationship among psychological distress, positive human memory, and resilience.

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Literature Review

Studies have been carried before to explain the effects of post-trauma and how recollection of positive memories and presence of support groups contribute to resilience.

Recalling Memory

According to Speer, Bhanji & Delgado (2014), the ability to maintain or savor positive thoughts and feelings is associated with an increased capacity to regulate emotions that later enhance positive adaptation to stressful situations. A possible way of promoting positive feelings is to remember good factual memories since they tend to be productive and vivid. (Speer, Bhanji & Delgado, 2014)

Steiner & Zelizer (1995) claim that the past is what one remembers imagines they can recall or pretend to recall. Steiner and Zelizer address the form of memory which consists of past recollections determined and formed by a social group. They state that transitioning from individual to collective action in understanding human memory gives the act of recalling a new cast of issues, activities, and characters (Steiner & Zelizer, 1995).

Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth

Naturally, some individuals are known to be extra resilient than others, maybe due to an inclination to be positive thinkers. Everyone can learn to be extra resilient by practicing more and training his or her memory so that he or she gets more aware of his or her insights. Experiences in life tend to depict that a majority of the negativities in life are temporary. People lose relationships, but later get into better ones, learn from it, and make improved future decisions (Mayo clinic, 2018).

According to Calhoun and Tedeschi (2006), trauma victims attribute their psychological growth to their way of handling stressful situations. They found out that people change in intensely positive ways after facing stressing events and experience reflective changes in self-perceptions, philosophy of life, and associations with others. From the author's viewpoint, resilience is the process of victims turning into survivors who later prosper in life (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2006).

Resilience and Positive Emotions

Davis (2001) studies how non-declarative and declarative memory progressions contribute to resilience. Memory processes which are non-declarative nurture resilience by underlying the ability to prompt and uphold supportive relations. On the other hand, declarative memory promotes resilience through its ability to arouse comforting emotional responses.

Philippe, Lecours, & BeaulieuPelletier (2009), state that positive emotions have had normal relations to resilience, particularly when experienced in times of stressful situations. The researchers proposed that painful memories carry a significant responsibility in the self-generation of desired memories. A study got carried out which revealed that positive emotional memories network, facilitated the link between the involvement of encouraging sentiments and psychological resilience in a setting of sadness (Philippe, Lecours, & BeaulieuPelletier 2009).

Schwager & Rothermund, (2013) state that in occurrences whereby situations control and direct behavior, emotional experience is less overwhelming and immediate. Additionally, situational models which efficaciously have implementations in projective control tends to embrace illustrations of positive results and experiences. The less intense emotions and positive bias permit active survival by provoking positive and negative emotional stimuli and events.

Social Support

According to Dr. Niaz (2006), prayer gets used as a primary technique for coping when faced with a problem. Through balancing of faith, an individual can be less vulnerable and gain more resilience. He further stated the need for generating support groups that serve as platforms which aid patients in expressing their frustrations since one of the most significant sources of strength in troubled times are the people close to us (Niaz, 2006).Grant & Kinman, (2013) also agree that social support approves that individuals who are more supported by others have a tendency of experiencing a reduction in stress and are more psychologically and physically healthy.

Problem Statement

Several individuals face exposure to stressful events at least once in their lifetime but continue bearing positive emotional experiences and display temporary and slight disturbances in their capacity to be operative (Bonanno, 2004). Benard (2002) in his research, found out that around fifty to seventy percent of youth raised under harsh circumstances developed severe stress, and a few managed to progress in social skills and achieve in life through positive emotions ( Tugade & Fredrickson,2004). This research will hence seek to contest various assumptions by going through suggestions that resilience signifies a different course from the recovery process, and that there are several unanticipated routes to resilience.


This research will aim to explore the relationship between psychological distress, human memory, and resilience.

Research Methods

Filling of questionnaires on autobiographical memory by thirty-four volunteer students over the age of eighteen years (17 girls and 17 boys).

MRI scanner - participants will have to state current affective states then fill prompt autobiographic memory patterns.

Resilience scale for adults will be used to measure social resources of an individual, family cohesion, social competence, and personal strength.

Experimental studies will be carried out on the 34 participants, observing and recording their behaviors.

This research will analyze two case studies from previously documented studies.

Budget Description

The research activity will require $ 1000 for printing of questionnaires which get distributed to participants for filling. Hiring the MRI scanner will cost $ 20,000 and an expert will also be recruited to handle the machine and assist in the experiment process and this will cost $ 5000. Miscellaneous expenses are expected to cost not more than $ 5000. The proposed budget for this research amounts to a total of $ 31,000.

Ethical Considerations

Being a crucial research area, participants who are willing and ready to revisit past traumatic experiences in their life will have to volunteer to take part in the study, to avoid psychological harm among individuals who will not be ready to open up to their experiences.


The autobiographical memory questionnaires will be left with the participants for three days get filled in time. Participants will be required to come back on the fourth day for MRI scanning which is scheduled to be completed within a day with each participant get allocated 10 minutes. They will then fill the resilience scale for adults on the fifth day, and this will take 20-25 minutes collectively. Case studies will take one week. Analysis of data will be done within three weeks. The study will be carried out and results analyzed within one month.

Implications in Science and Knowledge

This research will contribute to the adoption of new theories on memory by generating and trying to answer gnawing and troubling questions. It will also try to enhance the fields of science and research in finding out how autobiographic memory dynamically functions. Also, there is the presence of a prospect of accepting the complete power of improvements in our knowledge of the neurobiological source of behavior to treat, prevent, and predict post-traumatic stress disorder (Charney, 2004).

Target Group and Activities

This research will mainly target young adults mostly because they are the most affected by past experiences and still have a significant chance of directing their future through the right coping skills and getting social support from peers. It will also target individuals leaving with post-traumatic stress limiting practical functionality in life in an attempt to find effective coping mechanisms.

With a large number of individuals lacking the skill of resilience and being unaware of possible coping skills when trying to deal with current frustrating issues or past traumatizing memories, this research intends on creating an outreach program within the school grounds. Holding meetings and positive talks in one of the classes will see interested individuals coming together to learn about the issues of psychological distress, positive emotions and by sharing personal experiences.


Resilience manifests a challenge for mental health professionals. Whether one is resilient or not, does not depend on psychological tests rather the way their lives unfold. Their state of resilience gets observed when one encounters environmental threats, stress or other obstacles. Previous researchers have documented support for factors surrounding resilience such as ways of recalling memory, post-trauma issues, coping strategies through positive emotions, and social support. Concludingly from previous researches autobiographical memory is remarkably crucial for the capability of re-experiencing the past as well as permitting individuals to regenerate emotions experienced in the original state. This research, therefore, will explore the effectiveness of remembering constructive historical memories, and building resilience.


Benard, B. (2002). The foundations of the resiliency framework: From research to practice.

Bonanno, G. A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events. American Psychologist, 59(1), 20.

Charney, D. S. (2004). Psychobiological mechanisms of resilience and vulnerability. Focus.

Davis, J. T. (2001). Gone but not forgotten: Declarative and nondeclarative memory processes and their contributions to resilience. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 65(4), 451-470.

Grant, L. J., &Kinman, G. (2013). The importance of emotional resilience for staff and students in the "helping" professions.

Niaz, U. (2006). Role of faith and resilience in recovery from psychotrauma. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 22(2), 204.

Philippe, F. L., Lecours, S., & BeaulieuPelletier, G. (2009). Resilience and positive emotions: Examining the role of emotional memories. Journal of Personality, 77(1), 139-176.

Resilience training - Mayo Clinic. (2018). Retrieved 21 April 2018, from

Schwager, S., &Rothermund, K. (2013). The Automatic Basis of Resilience. Kent, M./Davis, MC/Reich, J. W.(Hrsg.): The resilience handbook: Approaches to stress and trauma. Routledge: New York, 55-72.

Speer, M. E., Bhanji, J. P., & Delgado, M. R. (2014). Savoring the past: positive memories evoke value representations in the striatum. Neuron, 84(4), 847-856.

Steiner, L., &Zelizer, B. (1995). Competing memories: Reading the past against the grain: The shape of memory studies.

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2006). Time of change? The spiritual challenges of bereavement and loss. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 53(1), 105-116.

Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emot...

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Research Paper on Human Memory and Resilience. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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