Memories of an Autopsy: The Effects of Stress Exposure on Suggestibility for a Stressful Event

  •  Elisa Krackow    
  •  Vanessa Jacoby    
  •  Joseph Scotti    


The current study examined the effects of stressful life events on memory for a stressful event. Two groups of
college students (N = 61) were formed for analysis based on the presence or absence of particular stressful life
events. Participants then viewed a graphic video depicting an autopsy, and received a memory interview four
days later. Results showed similar group performance on correctly leading questions. However, participants in
the Specific Stressor-Exposed group were less suggestible to misleading questions than their Specific
Stressor-Absent counterparts. Results are discussed in terms of stress sensitization theory and cognitive
processing models.

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