We explored whether event recency and valence affect people's susceptibility to imagination inflation. Using a three-stage procedure, subjects imagined positive and negative events happening in their distant or recent past. First, subjects rated how confident they were that they had experienced particular positive and negative events in childhood or adulthood using a Life Events Inventory (LEI). Two weeks later, they imagined two positive and two negative events from the LEI. Finally, they rated their confidence on the LEI a second time. For positive events, subjects showed more imagination inflation for adulthood than childhood events. For negative events, they showed no difference in imagination inflation for adulthood and childhood events. We discuss factors that may influence source confusions for memories of the past and highlight directions for future research.
Acta Psychol (Amst). 2008 Oct;129(2):228-33. Sharman SJ, Barnier AJ. School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org