How Discrete Emotions Affect Misinformation Reported in Eyewitness Testimonies

Devi Daniel Mahendran, Quek Ai Hwa


Eyewitness testimonies are significantly important in the forensic and legal domain; however, the emphasis on discrete emotions on the amount of misinformation reported by eyewitnesses remains relatively niche, warranting further scrutiny. The emotion fear in particular, has received scant attention in regards to the misinformation effect and the PANAS scale, which was used to capture self-reports of discrete emotions in prior studies, has several limitations. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of discrete emotions on the amount of misinformation reported. One hundred and eighty-eight undergraduate students were recruited and assigned to either the happy, sad, fearful or neutral condition. Participant’s responses were recorded on the DEQ before and after the emotion induction, and subsequently presented with a misinformation paradigm. Generally, it was proposed that; participants in the fearful condition would report the most amount of misinformation, followed by the neutral, sad and happy conditions, and participants across all conditions would report more misinformation on peripheral compared to central details. Experimental data analysis revealed that there was no significant effect of discrete emotions on amount of misinformation reported, and therefore none of hypotheses were supported. The nature of these findings and implications for future research are discussed.

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