Does Alexithymia Affect Memory for a Crime? The Relationship Between Alexithymia, Executive Functions, and Memories

Fabiana Battista*, Tiziana Lanciano, Antonietta Curci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)

Abstract

Prior studies on alexithymia and memory have found a negative association between the two constructs, especially when emotional memories are considered. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that also the executive functioning (EF) of the individuals influences this relationship. Thus, the goal of this study is to verify whether alexithymia can influence the memory accuracy for a violent crime in people with different levels of EF resources in terms of both correct details and memory distortions (i.e., omissions and commissions) reported. We assessed the alexithymia and EF resources of individuals and showed participants a video of a violent crime (i.e., murder). We then asked participants to testify about the content of the video by imagining to be witnesses of the crime. A memory test was run on two moments in time: immediately after the video presentation and after 10 days. Findings demonstrated that alexithymia influences the recall of the event both in proneness to report correct details and memory distortions of the participants (i.e., omissions and commissions). Additionally, we found a contribution of EF resources in this relationship. The findings provide new information for legal professionals on memory functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number669778
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • COMPLEX
  • CROSS-VALIDATION
  • EMOTION
  • FALSE MEMORY
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • METAANALYSIS
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • SCALE
  • SENSORY PROCESSING PATTERNS
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • alexythimia
  • executive functions
  • eyewitness
  • forgetting
  • memory distortions

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