Memory detection: The effects of emotional stimuli

Nathalie klein Selle, Bruno Verschuere, Merel Kindt, Ewout Meijer, Tal Nahari, Gershon Ben-Shakhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Concealed Information Test (CIT) aims to detect the presence of crime-related information in memory. In two experiments, we examined the influence of stimulus emotionality on the outcomes of the CIT. In experiment 1, each participant was tested immediately or after one week, on a series of neutral and either negative arousing or negative non-arousing pictures. CIT detection efficiency was unaffected, but physiological and recognition data did not support the manipulation's effectiveness. In experiment 2, each participant was tested after a week on a series of neutral versus negative arousing pictures. Importantly, stimulus arousal was increased and memory ceiling effects were prevented. This time, both memory and CIT detection efficiency using the skin conductance, but not the respiration and heart rate measures, were enhanced for emotional compared to neutral pictures. Taken together, these results indicate that the use of emotional stimuli does not deteriorate and may even improve CIT validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Arousal
  • External validity
  • Heart rate (HR)
  • Respiration line length (RLL)
  • Skin conductance response (SCR)
  • The concealed information test (CIT)
  • Valence


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