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The Effects of Arousal and Attention on Emotional False Memory Formation

Hellenthal, M. V., Knott, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-2897-3245, Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571 , Wilkinson, S. & Shah, D. (2019). The Effects of Arousal and Attention on Emotional False Memory Formation. Journal of Memory and Language, 107, pp. 54-68. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2019.03.010


Previous research has shown that with reduced attention at encoding, false recognition of critical lures for negative arousing DRM lists were higher than positive arousing lists. The current study extends this research to examine the role of attention for both arousing and nonarousing valenced false memory formation. Further, due to contradictory findings in past research, we examined attention at encoding using both within- (Experiment 1) and between-(Experiment 2) participants design. Participants were exposed to high and low arousing, valenced DRM lists under full and reduced attention conditions. Experiment 1 revealed that only negative arousing false memories were not affected by reduced attention at study, all other false memories decreased. In Experiment 2, although recognition of negative high arousing critical lures was higher, false memories increased in the reduced attention condition for all list types. Differences in attention during encoding affect the retrieval of emotional stimuli dependent on arousal and valence, however, our decision strategies can override the impact of this when it comes to retrieval.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Publisher Keywords: Arousal; Automatic processing; Controlled processing; False memory; Valence; Attention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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