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Title: The role of emotion in confabulation and amnesia
Author: Alkathiri, Nura
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 3527
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The present programme of studies investigated whether there is a positive emotional bias in the content of confabulation using the semantic-associates paradigm. This procedure comprises lists of semantically related items that are associated with a non-presented critical distracter. In three studies, 26 confabulating amnesia patients, 26 non-confabulating amnesia patients and 26 healthy controls were presented with the semantic-associates task. In study 1, this procedure was employed to induce false recall and false recognition in response to studying lists of positive, negative and neutral word lists. In study 2, a facial expressions semantic-associates procedure was constructed to examine false recognition of pictorial items. In the final study, participants were induced into positive and negative mood using a video mood induction procedure to examine the effects of mood on false recall and false recognition. Confabulating patients showed a positive emotional bias and falsely recognised a higher proportion of positive unrelated intrusions compared with non-confabulating patients and healthy controls. These findings suggested that confabulating patients’ tendency to produce pleasant false memories may represent a bias in general emotional processing. However, the positive bias was not found in the facial expressions task. This suggested that the distinctive characteristics in pictorial items may aid confabulating patients in the discrimination between studied items and non-studied intrusions. In addition, reduced false recognition of critical distracters in both confabulating and non-confabulating patients was a marker for gist memory impairment in amnesia. Finally, the video mood induction procedure demonstrated that the positive bias in confabulating patients was enhanced by, but not specific, to negative mood. However, findings from a signal detection analysis indicated that confabulating patients showed a positive bias because their memory strength for positive material was significantly weaker compared with that of non-confabulating patients and healthy controls. Future studies would need to equate for differences in memory strength between controls and amnesia patients in order to provide stronger evidence that emotional factors are playing a role in the content of confabulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available