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The Role of Attention in Emotional False Memory Formation: Applying Eye-tracking to the Misinformation Effect

Roberts, Emma (2020) The Role of Attention in Emotional False Memory Formation: Applying Eye-tracking to the Misinformation Effect. Doctoral thesis, Stafforshire University.

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Abstract or description

Attention is suggested to mediate the contrasting effect evidenced by misinformation research in which negative and highly arousing, events are recalled with high accuracy, whilst also being susceptible to memory distortion by misinformation. The current research extends existing findings by investigating the suggested role of attention in emotional false memory formation by applying eye-tracking as a measure of attention during the encoding phase of a series of misinformation studies. A total of 224 students (133 female), mean age 23.85 (SD = 7.34), were recruited from Staffordshire University. Three misinformation studies were conducted following a three-stage procedure of encoding, misinformation exposure, and recognition test, using three stimuli formats as events to be encoded: images, image sequences and video. Conditions of misinformation, valence, arousal and information location were compared across stimuli of increasing complexity. Eye-tracking measures were employed during event encoding to allow attention and memory accuracy data to be integrated using multiple regression analysis. Results evidenced no predictive relationship between attention and memory accuracy for central information in the absence of misinformation. For participants receiving misleading information, there were no consistent predictive relationships observed within valence or arousal event conditions across stimuli formats. However, the impact of misinformation reduced as event complexity increased, suggesting that event complexity mediates the ability of misleading information to distort memory accuracy. Current results present the first use of eye-tracking during a misinformation study, the first misinformation study conducted in a virtual reality environment and presents an objective and replicable method for defining central event detail in visual stimuli. Results have implications for judicial practise of presenting visual evidence in court and for future research employing visual stimuli formats.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2020 12:50
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2020 12:50

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