Lessons for future research: two experiments failed to reproduce a relationship between achievement motivation and autobiographical memory distortion

Lawrence Patihis*, Paul Cloud, Kenneth Nguyen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Previous research (Sharman & Calacouris, 2010. Motivated imagination inflation: Implicit and explicit motives predict imagination inflation for achievement and affiliation events. Experimental Psychology, 57, 77–82) found that participants’ achievement-motivation was associated with the inflation of memory and confidence for unlikely achievement-related events in childhood. Similarly, other research has shown correlations between achievement motivation and grade inflation. In the current studies, we experimentally investigate the effect of false feedback and achievement-motivation on memory distortion for an unlikely childhood event (e.g. inventing an important device). In Experiment 1, we found that false feedback did have an effect, but contrary to previous research, self-reported achievement-motivation was not a statistically significant correlate of memory distortion. In Experiment 2, we again found a main effect for false feedback, no main effect of motivation, and an interaction. Both Experiments did not find, as earlier research had, a significant relationship between achievement-motivation and achievement-related memory distortion. We suggest others use different methods to ours when attempting to demonstrate a causal relationship between motivation and false memories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-791
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Volume30
Issue number8
Early online date8 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • false feedback
  • Memory distortion
  • misinformation
  • motivation
  • suggestion

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