The impact of emotion and sex on fabrication and false memory formation

Kamilla Rún Jóhannsdóttir*, Halldora Bjorg Rafnsdottir, Andri Haukstein Oddsson, Haukur Freyr Gylfason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to examine how negative emotion and sex affect self-generated errors as in fabrication set-up and later false recognition of those errors. In total, 120 university students volunteered to take part in the study. Participants were assigned at random into two equal sized groups (N = 60) depending on the type of event they received (negative emotional or neutral). We expected that fabrication and false recognition would be enhanced for the emotional event compared to the neutral one. We further hypothesized that both the willingness to fabricate and later false recognition would be enhanced for women compared with men. The results partly confirmed the hypotheses. The results showed that emotional valence (negative) affects both the willingness to fabricate about events that never took place, and the recognition of the fabrication as true at a later point. Women and men were equally likely to fabricate but women were more likely to recognize their fabrication, particularly for the emotional event. The results are discussed in the context of prior work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12185
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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Other keywords

  • Emotional stimuli
  • Fabrication
  • False memory formation
  • Self-generated errors
  • Sex differences


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