The robustness of false memory for emotional pictures
Emotional material is commonly reported to be more accurately recognised; however, there is substantial evidence of increased false alarm rates (FAR) for emotional material and several reports of stronger influences on response bias than accuracy. This pattern is more frequently reported for words than pictures. Research on the mechanisms underlying bias differences has mostly focused on word lists under short retention intervals. This article presents four series of experiments examining recognition memory for emotional pictures while varying arousal and the control over the content of the pictures at two retention intervals, and one study measuring the relatedness of the series picture sets. Under the shorter retention interval, emotion increased false alarms and reduced accuracy. Under the longer retention interval emotion increased hit rates and FAR, resulting in reduced accuracy and/or bias. At both retention intervals, the pattern of valence effects differed based on the arousal associated with the picture sets. Emotional pictures were found to be more related than neutral pictures in each set; however, the influence of relatedness alone does not provide an adequate explanation for all emotional differences. The results demonstrate substantial emotional differences in picture recognition that vary based on valence, arousal and retention interval.
Bessette-Symons, Brandy A., "The robustness of false memory for emotional pictures" (2018). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 367.