Previous research has shown that students asked to recall the anxiety levels they reported prior to an exam exaggerate how anxious they had been. The present study investigated the effect of current emotions on this memory bias by comparing the recall of pre‐exam anxiety in students who either achieved or failed to achieve their target grades. Participants rated their anxiety levels 48 hours prior to the exam and were asked to recall these levels after receiving their exam results. The exaggerated recall of pre‐exam anxiety was observed only in students who surpassed their target grade. Students who failed to achieve their target grade significantly underestimated their pre‐exam anxiety levels. The findings are attributed to self‐enhancement motives that bias the recall of pre‐exam anxiety in the direction that maximizes self‐esteem
Dewhurst, S. A., & Marlborough, M. A. (2003). Memory bias in the recall of pre‐exam anxiety: the influence of self‐enhancement. Applied cognitive psychology, 17(6), 695-702.