The Influence of Religious Beliefs on False Memory of Fabricated Events


Previous research has indicated that memories can be modified in conjunction with one’s attitudes, in particular, political beliefs. The current study extended this finding by focusing on the relationship between differing religious beliefs and false memories for news events. We predicted that religious people would be more inclined to remember fabricated news events positively depicting religion and less likely to remember events negatively depicting religion compared to non-religious people. Opposite effects were predicted for events depicting atheism. In contrast, we found that religious people were more likely to falsely remember both events depicting religion positively and negatively compared to non-religious individuals. However, the extent to which individuals felt positively about the events interacted with religious beliefs to predict reported false memories. Religious individuals were more likely to remember events if they felt positively about them whereas atheists were more likely to remember events if they felt negatively about them.

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