False memories for an analogue trauma: Does thought suppression help or hinder memory accuracy?

Jacinta Oulton, Deryn Strange, Melanie Takarangi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In the current study, we investigated whether suppression can produce an amplified memory for a traumatic experience. Participants viewed a distressing film depicting a multi-fatality car accident. We broke the film down into several short clips, some of which were removed. After viewing the film, we instructed participants to (i) suppress and monitor film-related thoughts, (ii) think freely and monitor film-related thoughts or (iii) just think freely. Twenty-four hours later, participants completed a recognition test. Memory distortion was comparable across conditions; however, suppression and monitoring of trauma-related thoughts removed the typical bias to falsely remember the most critical and traumatic clips of the film over the least critical clips. Our data suggest that suppression may be effective in reducing trauma-related cognitions and, therefore, does not predict a more 'amplified' memory for trauma. Instead, suppression and thought monitoring encourage an unbiased, although inaccurate, memory for trauma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)350-359
    Number of pages10
    JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
    Volume30
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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