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Feigning Amnesia Moderately Impairs Memory for a Mock Crime Video

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Previous studies showed that feigning amnesia for a crime impairs actual memory for the target event. Lack of rehearsal has been proposed as an explanation for this memory-undermining effect of feigning. The aim of the present study was to replicate and extend previous research adopting a mock crime video instead of a narrative story. We showed participants a video of a violent crime. Next, they were requested to imagine that they had committed this offense and to either feign amnesia or confess the crime. A third condition was included: Participants in the delayed test-only control condition did not receive any instruction. On subsequent recall tests, participants in all three conditions were instructed to report as much information as possible about the offense. On the free recall test, feigning amnesia impaired memory for the video clip, but participants who were asked to feign crime-related amnesia outperformed controls. However, no differences between simulators and confessors were found on both correct cued recollection or on distortion and commission rates. We also explored whether inner speech might modulate memory for the crime. Inner speech traits were not found to be related to the simulating amnesia effect. Theoretical and practical implications of our results are discussed.

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, YOUNG-ADULTS, feigning amnesia, mock crime video, simulation, INFORMATION, RECALL, VARIETIES, EVENT, SIMULATING AMNESIA, INNER SPEECH, lack of rehearsal, inner speech, CONSEQUENCES, OFFENSES
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Original languageEnglish
Article number625
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018