Attachment Anxiety Creates False Memories: Study Finds

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Attachment Anxiety Creates False Memories

Psychology News

A team of researchers at Southern Methodist University explored the link between attachment anxiety and the creation of false memories. The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The Study

The researchers recruited 200–650 participants in a study conducted to understand memory formation in personality types with attachment anxiety.

Some of the participants were randomly assigned to watch a 20-minute video of a woman talking either about her tumultuous breakup with a man or a general topic. The others got the same information from audio clips only or by reading a transcript.

All the participants were asked to take a memory test after receiving the information. Their attachment styles were also assessed by the 9-item Experiences in Close Relationships—Relationship-Structures questionnaire.

The Findings

The results revealed that attachment-anxious adults are more susceptible to developing false memories. However, attachment-anxious people, in general, are more accurate in their memories when reading or hearing the same details than people with lesser attachment anxiety.

The researchers elaborated: “We believe that highly attachment-anxious individuals are likely intensively analyzing what is being said in the videos we showed them. Their own thoughts and feelings about the video may have gotten ‘mixed up’ with the actual video contents in their minds. Thus, they experienced false memories when we gave them a test regarding the video’s contents.

To Know More You May Refer To

Hudson, N. W., & Chopik, W. J. (2022). Seeing you reminds me of things that never happened: Attachment anxiety predicts false memories when people can see the communicator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000447

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