Mood effects on eyewitness memory: Affective influences on susceptibility to misinformation

Joseph P. Forgas, Simon M. Laham, Patrick T. Vargas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Does mood influence the accuracy of eyewitness recollections, and people's susceptibility to misleading information in particular? Based on recent affect-cognition theories and research on eyewitness memory, three experiments predicted and found that positive affect promoted, and negative affect inhibited the incorporation of misleading information into eyewitness memories. This effect was obtained for both positive and negative events (Experiment 1), and for recorded as well as real-life incidents (Experiment 2). Participants had no meta-cognitive awareness of these mood effects, and affect-control instructions were ineffective in preventing them (Experiment 3). The cognitive mechanisms responsible for mood effects on eyewitness memories are discussed, and the implications of these findings for everyday memories, forensic practice and for current affect/cognition theorizing are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-588
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Affect and cognition
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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