Role of arousal states in susceptibility to accept misinformation
Ari Sudan Tiwari
Defence Institute of Psychological Research, Delhi, India
The fragile nature of eyewitness memory makes the witnesses susceptible to various sources of post event information. Many factors of individual differences further moderate the impact of misinformation. The experiment reported here attempts to explore the effects of post event information on recognition accuracy of witnessed events, as moderated by the arousal states of energetic arousal, tense arousal, hedonic tone and anger/frustration. Experiment used those participants who scored high on four arousal states and average on rest of the three arousal states. Participants viewed a video clip, depicting a murder, followed by presentation of one week delayed post event information and recognition test for details of the event. Results indicated that participants who were misled retained less number of details of the event than did the participants who were given either consistent or no post event information. High scorer energetic arousal and hedonic tone participants retained more details of the event than did the high scorer tense arousal and anger/frustration participants under all the three post event information conditions. However, high tense arousal and anger/frustration participants’ eyewitness retention dropped more sharply when they were given misleading post event information in comparison to the high energetic arousal and hedonic tone participants. Thus, results of the study indicated a moderating effect of post event information by the arousal states.