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Effects of mental checking during anxious anticipation on meta- memory

By E.A.C. Andeweg and S. Kwakernaak


Previous studies have found that repeated checking leads to a decrease in memory confidence, which in turn leads to increased perseverative checking. OCD patients perform physical checking as well as mental checking. The latter is a form of covert checking, by which memories of specific parts of a situation are repeatedly recalled. Research indicates that taxing of the working-memory and simultaneous recalling a memory makes this memory less vivid and emotional and it will be stored in long term memory likewise. OCD patients are often stressed when they mentally perseverate and it is known that stress influences working- memory. It was hypothesized that a taxed working- memory in turn leads to memory distrust. By manipulating stress and mental checking, it was investigated whether vividness, detail and confidence in memory decreases over time. Participants were shown a film and were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: 1) mental checking under stress, 2) mental checking alone, 3) stress manipulation alone, or 4) no manipulation at all. The stress- manipulation worked, but no significant effect of repeated mental checking on confidence, vividness and detail in memory were found. An effect of accuracy over time was found, which is a normal decay of memory over time. As expected, the mental perseveration had no effects on the accuracy of memory. It can be concluded that our study concerning mental checking did not replicate the results of previous authors that repeated checking is associated with memory distrust. Future research should better investigate the definition of mental checking, since it is still imprecise

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, OCD, mental checking, memory distrust, stress
Year: 2009
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