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Influence of negative affect on false memory production

Bland, Cassandra (2017). Influence of negative affect on false memory production. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis investigates the effect of negative emotion induction on the production rate of false memories. False memories are a significant concern for situations in which the accuracy of memory is relied upon or called into question. Within the legal system eyewitness testimonies may often be the only available evidence in determining who committed a crime. In addition, in many clinical and counselling therapies memory is a central focus. In both sectors, emotion, particularly negative emotion, may affect the encoding and retrieval of false memories. Past research has previously shown that negative emotion, depending on the situation, can significantly increase, or protect against, false memory production. However, there are still many gaps in our understanding of these effects, and this thesis examines the effect of negative emotion inductions on the production of endogenous and exogenous false memories. With spontaneous endogenous false memory production, there is little known about the effect of discrete emotions, and emotion congruency. This thesis presents novel evidence of a discrete emotion congruency effect with spontaneous false memory production. This thesis also presents new perspectives on the effect of negative emotion on existing memories. Source memory errors for new false information are shown to be inflated for negative stimuli compared to neutral and positive. In addition, there is evidence that negative emotion inductions can alter the affective qualities of an already established neutral memory. The experiments presented support associative activation accounts of false memory production. The experimental evidence also demonstrates a need for future research to consider motivational aspects of emotion and investigate how goal relevance may facilitate false memory production.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
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