The Effect of Music on Stress and False Memory of Individuals Using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott Paradigm

Gatmen, Elisia
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
False memories are distorted memories caused by certain factors that affect an individual’s original memories. Research has shown that individuals in stress-provoking situations are more susceptible to creating false memories—especially when individuals do not have the capacity to deal well with stress. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the use of classical music, which studies have shown to decrease stress and anxiety, will decrease an individual’s vulnerability to false memories when exposed to social stressors. By using the Trier Social Stress Test to induce stress in individuals, and the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm, one of the most powerful methods of producing false memories in the laboratory, we hoped to find a significantly lower amount of false memories created in stressed individuals who were exposed to music than stressed individuals who were not exposed to music. Results showed no significant differences in false recall or false recognition between the Stress/Music, Stress/No Music, No Stress/Music, and No Stress/No Music conditions. This finding, in conjunction with additional analyses, suggests that music may not be the best way to alleviate the stress that accompanies creating false memories.
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