Do Stress and Anxiety Impact Memory? An Exploratory Portuguese Study

Laura Alho (Lusófona University of Humanities and Technologies)
Pedro F. S. Rodrigues (School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)
Cátia Fidalgo (EPVC, Lusófona University of Humanities and Technologies, Lisbon, Portugal)

Article ID: 894



Eyewitness memory is widely studied in the forensic context, due to their proneness to make unreliable testimonies. Understanding which factors may impact memory is determinant to avoid wrongful convictions in court. In this exploratory study, the relation between stress and anxiety and memory errors (spontaneous and induced) was analyzed being hypothesized that negative emotions may impair memory performance. Crime and neutral videos were presented to 80 volunteer university students in a between subject-design. They were asked to fill some stress and anxiety scales throughout the experimental task, as well as a free recall task. Also, it was presented several questions about the videos in which spontaneous and induced errors were assessed. Results suggests that stress and anxiety did not influence the quantity of memory errors for both genders. However, overall memory performance was poor for both groups. Our results were discussed in light to existing theories about the relation between stress-anxiety and memory.


Memory errors; Testimony; Stress; Anxiety; Forensic psychology

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