Memory for media: Investigation of false memories for negatively and positively charged public events

  • Porter S
  • Taylor K
  • ten Brinke L
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Despite a large body of false memory research, little has addressed the potential influence of an event's emotional content on susceptibility to false recollections. The Paradoxical Negative Emotion (PNE) hypothesis predicts that negative emotion generally facilitates memory but also heightens susceptibility to false memories. Participants were asked whether they could recall 20 "widely publicised" public events (half fictitious) ranging in emotional valence, with or without visual cues. Participants recalled a greater number of true negative events (M=3.31/5) than true positive (M=2.61/5) events. Nearly everyone (95%) came to recall at least one false event (M=2.15 false events recalled). Further, more than twice as many participants recalled any false negative (90%) compared to false positive (41.7%) events. Negative events, in general, were associated with more detailed memories and false negative event memories were more detailed than false positive event memories. Higher dissociation scores were associated with false recollections of negative events, specifically.

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  • Stephen Porter

  • Kristian Taylor

  • Leanne ten Brinke

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