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Memory distortion and emotion: The effects of mood, arousal, and affective valence on the occurrence of false memories.

The aim of the current project is to gain a better understanding of how both mood and emotions can influence people's susceptibility to false memories. False memories are memories for events that never took place, and can be experimentally induced by meand of the DRM paradigm: the probability of falsely remembering a critical non-presented lure word, which is associatively related to a list of studied words, is as large as the probability of correctly remembering one of the studied words. Recently, evidence has been obtained that both happy and angry individuals produce more false memories than individuals in a serene or sad mood, with arousal as a possible mediating factor. In addition, emotional word lists have been shown to elicit more false memories than neutral word lists. The present research project is meant to further investigate both of these findings. In a first series of experiments, the effect of mood on false memory will be examined. This will be done by the experimental induction of positive and negative moods in healthy participants, as well as by testing clinically depressed (and possibly bipolar) patients with the DRM paradigm. In a second series of experiments, we will look into a possible interaction between mood and the emotional content of the materials used. More clarity concerning the influence of these naturally occurring variables will greatly enhance not only the informative value of false memory research, but also it's social relevance.
Date:1 Oct 2009 →  30 Sep 2010
Keywords:Episodic memory, Mood, False memories, Emotion, DRM paradigm
Disciplines:Biological and physiological psychology, Human experimental psychology, Animal experimental and comparative psychology , Applied psychology