Paper in Journal of Trauma & Dissociation
- Monds, L. A., Paterson, H. M., Kemp, R.I., & Bryant, R.A. (2013). Do Distress Responses to a Traumatic Film Predict Susceptibility to The Misinformation Effect?. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.
The misinformation effect is defined as the impairment in memory for past events due to exposure to misleading information (Loftus, 2005). Some people may be more susceptible to the misinformation effect than others, and this may also depend on their response to a distressing event. The purpose of the current study was to investigate several key factors that may contribute to misinformation susceptibility for distressing events, namely Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms such as avoidance, intrusions, and dissociation. Participants watched either a neutral or trauma film, rated their level of distress, and completed measures of trait and state dissociation. Returning a week later, misinformation was introduced via an eyewitness statement and free recall was assessed. Findings indicated dissociation was related to higher distress ratings following the film, but was not related to acceptance of misinformation. However, avoidance scores were related to increased recall of misinformation items, and reported experiences of intrusions related to greater accuracy. These results are discussed in light of the Paradoxical Negative Emotion hypothesis.