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OBJECTIVE: To test the effect of misinformation outside of the laboratory and to explore correlates of the effect, including arousal, cognitive ability, and neuroticism. METHOD: About 2 months before deployment to Afghanistan, 249 soldiers enrolled in this study, which was embedded in a larger project. Two months after deployment, participants were interviewed about stressors on deployment and they received subtle misinformation about a fictional event on deployment. Seven months later, they were retested, and completed a questionnaire about events on deployment. RESULTS: At 9 months, a total of 26% of participants reported that they had experienced the fictional event, although 7 months earlier they said they had not experienced it. Logistic regression analyses revealed that lower cognitive ability and a combination of high arousal and more stressors on deployment were related to higher susceptibility to the misinformation effect. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that information provided by another source may be incorporated into related autobiographical memory, particularly for individuals with lower cognitive ability, high arousal at the time of encoding the information and more related experiences.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Psychotraumatol

Publication Date





Memory, individual differences, misinformation effect