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The role of attention in immediate emotional false memory enhancement

Knott, L., Howe, M. L., Toffalini, E. , Shah, D. & Humphreys, L. (2018). The role of attention in immediate emotional false memory enhancement. Emotion, 18(8), pp. 1063-1077. doi: 10.1037/emo0000407


Two experiments examined the effect of reduced attentional resources on false memory production for emotionally valenced stimuli using the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. Prior research has demonstrated that emotional information is often better remembered than neutral information and that enhanced memory for emotional information is dependent on either automatic or controlled neural processing (Kensinger & Corkin, 2004). Behavioral studies designed to reduce attention resources at encoding have supported neuroimaging findings that indicate high arousal negative stimuli rely more on automatic processing but positive high arousal stimuli rely more on controlled processing. No study has yet examined the attentional resources required to produce emotionally valenced false memories. In Experiment 1, negative, positive, and neutral DRM lists were studied under full or divided attention (DA) conditions, and in Experiment 2, negative and neutral DRM lists were studied under fast (20ms) or slow (2000ms) presentation conditions. Under DA and speeded presentation conditions, higher false memory recognition rates were found for negative compared to positive (Experiment 1) and neutral (Experiments 1 and 2) critical lures. This is the first demonstration of which we are aware that suggests negative false memories are associated with automatic neural processing, whereas positive and nonvalenced neutral false memories are associated with more controlled processing.

Publication Type: Article
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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