Dissociative experiences, response bias, and fantasy proneness in college students

H.L.G.J. Merckelbach*, P.E.H.M. Muris, R. Horselenberg, S. Stougie

*Corresponding author for this work

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In two studies, the connection between dissociative experiences as measured by the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and memory distortions was examined. In the first study, DES scores of female students (N = 42) were not found to be related to reality monitoring failures. There was, however, a significant association between DES and false positive memory failures, suggesting a response bias in participants scoring high on the DES. In the second study, students (N = 70) completed the DES, a measure of fantasy proneness, and the Life Events Inventory (LEI). The LEI lists a large number of discrete events and requires respondents to indicate whether these events have happened to them before the age of 10. A positive connection between DES and LEI was found, such that higher DES scores were accompanied by more positive answers to the LEI. The connection between DES and positive response tendencies to LEI items was evident for both neutral and negative items and was carried by fantasy proneness. Taken together, the data indicate that high DES scores are related to a positive response bias tendency. This may have substantial implications for retrospective studies that attempt to link high DES scores to traumatic antecedents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

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