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Neuroticism and Extraversion Magnify Discrepancies Between Retrospective and Concurrent Affect Reports

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Journal of Personality

Published online on


Objective Although research often relies on retrospective affect self‐reports, little is known about personality's role in retrospective reports and how these converge or deviate from affect reported in the moment. This micro‐longitudinal study examines personality (Neuroticism, Extraversion) and emotional salience (peak and recent affect) associations with retrospective‐momentary affect report discrepancies over different time frames. Method Participants were 179 adults aged 20–78 (M = 48.7 years; 73.7% Caucasian/White) who each provided up to 60 concurrent affect reports over 10 days, then retrospectively reported overall intensity of each affective state after 1 day and again after 1–2 months. Results Multilevel models revealed that individuals retrospectively overreported or underreported various affective states, exhibiting peak associations for high arousal positive and negative affect, recency associations for low arousal positive affect, and distinct personality profiles that strengthened over time. Individuals high in both Extraversion and Neuroticism exaggerated high arousal positive and negative affect and underreported low arousal positive affect, high Extraversion/low Neuroticism individuals exaggerated high arousal positive affect and underreported low arousal positive affect, and low Extraversion/high Neuroticism individuals exaggerated high and low arousal negative affect. Conclusions This study is the first to identify arousal‐specific retrospective affect report discrepancies over time and suggests retrospective reports also reflect personality differences in affective self‐knowledge.