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Is there a positive bias in false recognition? Evidence from confabulating amnesia patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Early online date4 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

King's Authors


Although there is some evidence for a positive emotional bias in the content of confabulations in brain damaged patients, findings have been inconsistent. The present study used the semantic-associates procedure to induce false recall and false recognition in order to examine whether a positive bias would be found in confabulating amnesic patients, relative to non-confabulating amnesic patients and healthy controls. Lists of positive, negative and neutral words were presented in order to induce false recall or false recognition of non-presented (but semantically associated) words. The latter were termed 'critical intrusions'. Thirteen confabulating amnesic patients, 13 non-confabulating amnesic patients and 13 healthy controls were investigated. Confabulating patients falsely recognised a higher proportion of positive (but unrelated) words, compared with non-confabulating patients and healthy controls. No differences were found for recall memory. Signal detection analysis, however, indicated that the positive bias for false recognition memory might reflect weaker memory in the confabulating amnesic group. This suggested that amnesia patients with weaker memory are more likely to confabulate and the content of these confabulations are more likely to be positive.

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