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True and false memory with emotionally valenced words: depression, trait anxiety and personality factors

Gündüz, Ayşen
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between false memory and trait anxiety, depression and personality characteristics with emotionally valenced material (positive, depression related, threat related and neutral). Participants were 131 Middle East Technical University students. Four groups (depressed, anxious, mixed and control) were formed in order to differentiate the effects of trait anxiety and depression. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Trait Form of State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-I) were administered. In order to measure false memory creation, a variant of Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm was used. It was hypothesized that the anxious group would produce more false memories for threat related words as compared to other groups. In addition, the depressed group was expected to display higher levels of false memory for depression related words as compared to other groups. One-way MANOVA was used to analyze the data. The results showed that there was a group difference only in terms of threat related words’ accuracy. Also people were categorized as “low” and “high” in the six personality characteristics as measured by Big Five Questionnaire. It was hypothesized that people high in openness to experience would commit less false memories as compared to people low in the trait. This was true for only positive material. Further, other personality characteristics were analyzed in order to discover the relationship between false memory and personality. The results were discussed in terms of relevant literature.