Dr. Pauline Dibbets is an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University. Her research focuses the acquisition, diminishment, and relapse of fear. She is interested in the translation of therapeutical intervention techniques to experimental research and vice versa.
Does misinformation during ImR increase false memories?
Co-Presented with Maarten Peters
Imagery Rescripting (ImRs) is a trauma-focused treatment technique aimed at alleviating trauma-related symptoms by modifying the content of the traumatic memory using imagery. This modification is regularly done by the therapist and could be viewed as incorporating new details in memory, also termed misinformation in memory research. However, not much is known about the effect of providing misinformation during ImRs on subsequent memory recollections for the traumatic event. We used a single- (Experiment 1: part 1 presentation) and three-day (Experiment 2: part 2 presentation) experimental design with an aversive movie compilation as an analogue to a traumatic event. After the movie, participants either imagined the scenes with rescripting (ImRs), without rescripting (imaginal exposure, IE), or carried out a filler task (control). In both imagery conditions an experimenter guided the imagery, but only the ImRs instruction contained misinformation about the trauma movie details. Memory for the original movie compilation was tested with a memory recognition task on the same day (Experiment 1) or after three days post aversive movie (Experiment 2), during which participants indicated whether the item was present in the movie (true items) or not (false items). Results of the one-day study showed that ImRs participants more often reported the misinformation to be present in the movie clip than IE and control participants did. The IE condition more often indicated that false items were present compared to the control condition. The collection of the three-day experiment is still in progress; the (preliminary) results of Experiment 2 will be presented and compared to the one-day experiment during the conference. Finally, clinical and forensic implications will be discussed.
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